CHICAGO -- On a day when his fastball command was not there from the first pitch, giving up two earned runs in six-plus innings probably wasn't the worst possible outcome for Dylan Cease.
Cease, who started the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Astros, got off to a rocky start by serving up a first-pitch bomb to Astros right fielder George Springer. Two innings later, Jose Altuve swatted another homer.
Cease allowed another Astros run in the sixth when his high fastball got by Welington Castillo for one of Castillo's three passed balls on the day and Yordan Alvarez scored. The Sox lost 6-2 as Cease fell to 2-5 on the season.
"I didn't execute pitches that great, but we had a chance to win, so that was OK," Cease said. "But I mean, it's hard to be happy with a loss."
In the nightcap, Ivan Nova pitched a four-hitter, allowing an unearned run, to give the Sox a 4-1 victory and a split of the doubleheader.
Nova didn't walk a batter in posting his 10th career complete game and second of the season. Nova has allowed only three earned runs in his last five starts. Ryan Goins went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Sox caught a break when the Astros' Gerrit Cole was scratched from his start because of right hamstring discomfort.
It was the Nova's second complete game in his last five starts. In that stretch, Nova (8-9) has allowed one or fewer earned runs in each game. In his previous start, the veteran right-hander shut out the Tigers for eight innings. Since his run began on July 22, Nova has lowered his ERA from 5.86 to 4.51.
Back to the opener, Cease's seventh career start should be judged as much by what went right as what didn't go right.
-- He kept himself out of big innings. In the first, Cease intentionally walked Alvarez to load the bases, then used his changeup to get Yuli Gurriel to ground into an inning-ending double play.