HOUSTON – White sox starter Hector Noesi pitched well over his last five innings Saturday against the Houston Astros.
However, his problems in the first inning were too much for the Sox to overcome.
Jason Castro hit a three-run homer and Dexter Fowler homered and drove in two runs to help Houston outlast the White Sox for a 6-5 win.
The Astros jumped on Noesi (0-4) for four runs in the first inning. He gave up eight hits and six runs — five earned — in six innings to remain winless in four starts and 10 appearances this season.
Catcher Tyler Flowers said Noesi was up in the zone and had trouble with all of his pitches early.
"He had a hard time even warming up, trying to get that feel or whatever pitchers do to get it downhill," Flowers said. "So we kind of knew it would be a battle to get him to stay on top and be down in the zone."
Noesi settled down after the first inning and allowed just two hits – both singles – over the next three innings before Fowler's homer with no outs in the fifth.
"He stubbed his toe coming out in that first inning," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "He didn't seem like he could get on track in that first inning. Guys were on, swinging the bat — all that stuff. After that, he composed himself and really battled. He got us to a point where we at least had a shot at it."
Alexei Ramirez had two hits and an RBI, and rookie Jose Abreu drove in his AL-leading 42nd RBI with a sacrifice in the third.
Abreu played designated hitter for the second straight game to rest his sore left ankle. He is 0 for 7 in this series and was replaced by pinch hitter Paul Konerko with one out in the seventh inning.
Abreu said that it hurt more Saturday than it did on Friday. Ventura said he took him out because he thought he looked "awkward" on his last swing and that he didn't expect him to play on Sunday.
"It's like he takes a couple steps forward, and then he takes a step back, so we took him out, and we will re-evaluate him after (Saturday)," Ventura said. "It just looked like he might do something else that would injure something else, so we took him out as a precaution right now."
Castro's home run came in Houston's four-run first inning. The White Sox scored two in the second and one in the third to cut the lead to one before Fowler's solo shot in the fifth inning. His RBI single in the seventh inning pushed the lead to 6-3.
Houston starter Jarred Cosart (3-3) allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings.
Kyle Farnsworth had a tough debut with the Astros after being signed Saturday. Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham each had an RBI off of the veteran reliever in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 6-5.
He was replaced by Darin Downs with two outs. Downs retired Conor Gillaspie to end the inning and Chad Qualls pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
Fowler finished with three hits and rookie George Springer had two hits, including his first career triple, and an RBI.
Jose Altuve hit a leadoff single before Springer's hit sailed just over the head of center fielder De Aza for a triple to put Houston up 1-0.
Fowler walked before Castro's sixth home run this season pushed the lead to 4-0. There were runners at second and third with two outs in the inning when right fielder Moises Sierra robbed Marwin Gonzalez of a hit and likely saved a couple of runs with a nifty diving catch.
Adam Dunn walked to start the second inning and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Ramirez to get the Sox within 4-1. Cosart issued consecutive walks after that to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by Sierra made it 4-2, but De Aza was out at third on the play to end the inning.
Beckham doubled with no outs in the third, took second on a groundout and scored on a groundout by Abreu to cut the lead to 4-3.
Fowler's opposite field shot to the Crawford Boxes in left field to start Houston's fifth inning extended the lead to 5-3.
Notes: The series wraps up Sunday when Houston's Brad Peacock looks for his first win when he faces left-hander John Danks. ... Sox LHP Chris Sale, who has been on the disabled list since April 22 with a left flexor strain, allowed one hit and struck out 11 in four innings in his first rehabilitation start in Triple-A on Friday night. Ventura isn't sure when he'll be ready to rejoin the team.