‘This place was rocking’: Chicago White Sox come back from the brink, rallying from a 4-run deficit vs. the Houston Astros for a wild 12-6 win in Game 3 of the ALDS

‘This place was rocking’: Chicago White Sox come back from the brink, rallying from a 4-run deficit vs. the Houston Astros for a wild 12-6 win in Game 3 of the ALDS
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The situation looked bleak early for the Chicago White Sox.

Facing elimination in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, the Sox trailed the Houston Astros by four runs heading to the bottom of the third.

Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal had a message for reliever Michael Kopech.

“I told him, ‘I’ve been here before, we’re going to come back and we’re going to win it,’ ” Grandal said.

There was plenty of baseball remaining. And plenty of fight left in the Sox, who staged an epic comeback, then lost the lead only to rebound for a wild 12-6 victory in front of an electric crowd of 40,288 on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox remain alive, trailing the Astros 2-1 in the best-of-five series. Game 4 is Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“It’s a really tough-minded bunch,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Sometimes you get rewarded with a comeback like that.

“That’s the way we’ve been. We know we’ve got some offense and if we can hold them down, we’ve got a shot.”

The 12 runs are the second-most in a postseason game in franchise history and the most since the White Sox scored a franchise-record 14 on Oct. 4, 2005, against the Boston Red Sox.

For a portion of Sunday night, the Astros appeared headed for a sweep.

Kyle Tucker had a two-run double during a three-run second and hit a two-run home run one inning later to give the Astros a 5-1 lead.

But a couple of swings in the bottom of the third swung the momentum back to the Sox.

Grandal hit a two-run home run against Astros starter Luis García, cutting the deficit to 5-3.

Yoán Moncada and Gavin Sheets had back-to-back two-out singles. Garcia fell behind in the count 2-0 to Leury García, and Astros manager Dusty Baker replaced him with Yimi García.

Leury García hit the reliever’s third pitch over the center-field wall for a three-run homer, giving the Sox a 6-5 lead.

“That ball was scalded,” La Russa said. “It was gone the minute he hit it.”

The Astros had a two-out rally in the fourth, with Alex Bregman’s RBI single tying the score at 6.

It was a short-lived tie.

Tim Anderson and Luis Robert singled to begin the bottom of the fourth. José Abreu gave the Sox the lead again, knocking in Anderson with a single. Robert went to third on the hit.

And then things got weird.

Zack Greinke entered for the Astros and got Grandal to ground to first. Yuli Gurriel threw to the plate, and the ball deflected off Grandal’s left arm and went wide of the plate. Robert scored on the fielder’s choice, making it 8-6.

The Astros argued that Grandal wasn’t in the basepath, but after the umpires gathered, the play stood.

“I wish I could tell you it was a heads-up play,” Grandal said.

Baker called it “a smart play on (Grandal’s) part.”

“Especially him being a catcher, he knows what he’s doing,” Baker said.

Abreu, who went to third during the sequence, scored on an infield hit by Eloy Jiménez.

Ryan Tepera served as a stabilizer out of the bullpen for the Sox. The reliever, acquired in a July trade with the Cubs, struck out three in two perfect innings.

“My mindset was to throw up some scoreless innings,” Tepera said. “Just attack the zone. Being confident and throwing pitches, kind of mixing it up and getting the momentum back on our side.”

Aaron Bummer stuck out the side in the seventh and retired the first two in the eighth. He was replaced by Craig Kimbrel, who got Yuli Gurriel to ground out to third.

The Sox struck out 16 batters, the most in a postseason game in team history.

“It’s no secret they’ve got a real good bullpen,” Baker said. “Their bullpen shut us down.”

After the Sox added three insurance runs in the eighth on RBI doubles by pinch hitter Andrew Vaughn and García and an RBI single by Anderson, closer Liam Hendriks struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth, wrapping up a memorable evening and extending the series at least another day.

“This place was rocking,” Grandal said. “These fans are incredible. The fact that everybody was here, it was great. All blacked out, it was awesome. Hopefully we’ll have it (Monday) again.”

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