freely but Shields won all over four rounds on the scorecards of the three ringside judges.Shields, wh | Forum

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HOUSTON -- Having squandered all of the momentum following their surprisingly scorching start to the season, the Chicago White Sox could at least hang their hat on their recent performances on the road, where theyd won three of four games entering their series opener against the Houston Astros. Cheap Boston Red Sox Jerseys .But following their 5-0 setback Friday -- their fourth shutout loss on the season -- Chicago (40-40) dropped back to .500. At least it has its ace on the mound for the middle game of the series Saturday.White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (13-2, 2.79 ERA), the first pitcher in the majors to reach 13 wins this season, pursues his second victory over Houston this season. Sale defeated the Astros 2-1 on May 19, allowing one run on four hits with nine strikeouts while tossing a complete game. Astros catcher Evan Gattis recorded the lone run against Sale with a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning.Sale has dominated the Astros throughout his career, posting a 4-1 record and 0.66 ERA in five career starts against them. He has allowed three earned runs while posting 56 strikeouts in 41 innings against Houston.Weve got Sale tomorrow so we have a pretty good chance of winning the ballgame and (left-hander Jose) Quintana afterwards, so weve just got to keep our heads up and keep grinding, said White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who suffered the loss Friday night despite allowing just three hits and two earned runs over seven strong innings.Right-hander Doug Fister (8-4, 3.36 ERA) gets the start for the Astros and seeks to rebound after the Royals snapped his seven-game winning streak in Kansas City on Sunday. Fister allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out six over 6 2/3 innings in the 6-1 setback.For Fister, that streak was the longest of his career. The Astros had won 10 consecutive games in which Fister started, a streak that tied their single-season record set by right-hander Donnie Wall in 1996.Fister is 3-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 10 career starts against the White Sox, including a 5-3 win in Chicago on May 18 when he pitched into the seventh inning.The Astros have won 13 of 15 games at Minute Maid Park and opened a key 10-game homestand with their third shutout win and sixth in succession at home. Once 11 games below .500, the Astros (43-37) continue to put distance between their sluggish start with a successful mix of effective starting pitching and timely, productive at-bats.Weve played really well and weve gotten ourselves back into relevance, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. And Im proud of this group.Were playing pretty good baseball. Weve got a great energy about us, the vibe is good, our personality is good, theyre having a lot of fun. Were winning games we should win when were in position to win. What comes with that is a much better standing in July than it did in April. What that gives us is positive momentum going into the last nine games of this homestand and the first half. Wholesale Red Sox Jerseys . The formidable trio of Canadian receivers -- individually known as Chris Getzlaf, Rob Bagg and Andy Fantuz -- will share the field at Mosaic Stadium one more time on Sunday. Cheap Red Sox Jerseys . The Oilers come in having lost five in a row (0-4-1) and 16 of their last 20 games, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. . LOUIS -- Heading into the final stretch of the season, the issues for the Chicago Bears banged-up defence only seem to be getting worse. LAS VEGAS -- Sergey Kovalev kept coming, and Andre Ward never stopped battling. With the crowd roaring in approval, they put on a fight that lived up to its advance billing.In the end, Ward won a narrow decision Saturday night to take Kovalevs light heavyweight titles in a battle between two unbeaten boxers.Ward survived a second-round knockdown and relentless pressure from Kovalev, doing just enough to win by a point on all three ringside scorecards. He remained unbeaten in his last 20 years in the ring, but it wasnt without some moments of worry.This was a beautiful thing. We did it baby, Ward said. Im a five-time world champion in two different weight classes. Man, its amazing.All three ringside judges had Ward winning 114-113. The Associated Press had Kovalev ahead 116-111.It was a fight of my life, Kovalev said. I am disappointed in the judges decision. He got maybe a few rounds, I agree with that. I kept control. I lost maybe three rounds the whole fight.Ward won all of the last six rounds on two scorecards, and five of six on a third. He won the final round on two of the scorecards.Kovalev knocked down Ward in the second round and chased him around the ring much of the early part of the fight. But Ward dug deep and managed to land some good punches of his own in a fight that built to a climax in the later rounds.The crowd of 13,310 at the T-Mobile Arena was on its feet in the late rounds as the two fighters went after each other, neither giving an inch. In the end, the judges favored Wards counter punching against the aggressive style of Kovalev.We were a little careless with that knockdown in the second round, said Wards trainer, Virgil Hunter. But we landed the cleaner punchesBoth fighters were unbeaten with almost identical records. Ward was 30-0 with 15 knockouts and Kovalev was 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts.It was a classic boxer versus puncher battle, and it looked like the puncher would prevail as Kovalev won the early rounds. But Ward kept punching and landed some good shots of his own in the middle rounds, and there were plenty of close rounds that could have gone either way.I knew it was going to be a tough fight -- it was the 1st time in my career I was dropped, Ward said. He did everything I expected him to do. He started to fight like I expected.Kovalevs promoter, Kathy Duva, said she would use the rrematch clause in the contract for a second fight. Cheap Red Sox Jerseys China. He won the first six rounds so I dont know how he could lose a decision, Duva said. Im happy we had a great fight. Boxing needed a great fight.The fight was billed as a matchup of U.S. and Russian fighters, with the 2004 Olympic gold medalist Ward against a Russian who lives mostly in the Los Angeles area. It was a classic matchup of puncher versus boxer, and for the early part of the fight the puncher was winning.Kovalev flashed his power early, hitting Ward with a left hand midway through the first round that briefly wobbled Wards legs. Ward grabbed and held on and finished the round jabbing at the Russian, but the tone of the fight was set early.Midway through the second round, both fighters threw right hands but it was Kovalevs that landed flush to the side of Wards head, putting him on the canvas. He got up quickly and smiles as if not hurt but needed all of his supreme defensive skills to make it out of the round.Ward seemed unwilling to go inside after that, moving backward and trying to land jabs to control the action. But he abandoned the style that had served him so well over the years and fought moving backward, throwing only one punch at a time, as Kovalev constantly pressed the attack.Ward did have some moments, including the seventh round when he landed a good left that snapped Kovalevs head back.Ward earned $5 million, while Kovalev was paid $2 million plus a percentage of pay-per-view.On the undercard, two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields made her pro debut a successful one, winning a decision over Franchon Crews in a four-round super middleweight fight.Shields came back from a slow first round to land the bigger punches in an entertaining fight. Both women, fighting without headgear for the first time, traded punches freely but Shields won all over four rounds on the scorecards of the three ringside judges.Shields, who became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics and added another in Rio in August, had vowed to be impressive in her first pro fight. 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