The Sox took a multiple-run lead before they made their first out, then batted around during a six-run fourth inning to put the game away before it even reached the halfway point. The A's didn't have to send out two position players to pitch like the Sox did in their 17-6 loss to Oakland on Tuesday, but they also have two more arms available in the bullpen.
The long ball played a big part. Carlos Sanchez followed Adam Eaton's leadoff triple with a homer to right to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the first off Cody Martin. Jose Abreu added a solo shot in the third, and then Mike Olt hit a monster two-run blast deep into the bleachers in left to open the floodgates.
Pat Venditte should be credited with his role in the matter. Playing the role of Tuesday's Daniel Webb, he inherited a runner on first and nobody out from Martin, then promptly walked the next three batters, including a run-scoring free pass to Abreu to make it a 6-1 ballgame. Melky Cabrera then ushered Venditte from the game with a two-run double past third base.
The Sox had a little trouble getting the final run. Abreu was cut down at home plate on a groundout to short, a J.B. Shuck single reloaded the bases, and then Rob Brantly hit a grounder to short. Eric Sogard bounced the throw to first from the pivot and Billy Butler couldn't handle the hop. That allowed Cabrera to score, giving the White Sox their first nine-run game at home for the first time all season (they've scored nine or more on the road eight times).
That's where they stopped, but it was plenty for Erik Johnson, who once again had the luxury of working with a large cushion. He got off to a rocky start, as he triggered medical concerns five pitches into the game because of the way he shook out his arm, and battled through a 34-pitch second inning in which he allowed a sac fly. A pitch count of 47 through two innings put him at risk for a short start, but he ended up getting through the next four on 63 pitches. He gave up a two-run homer to Billy Butler in his final inning of work, but he was working with an eight-run margin at the time, so it really made no difference. He improved to 2-0 by virtue of not looking gift horses in their mouths.
Frankie Montas, on the other hand, showed dynamic stuff in his two innings of work. He held the A's hitless, walking one, striking out two, hitting 100 with his fastball and locking up right-handed hitters with his slider. Scott Carroll gave up a solo shot in the ninth in his first action in 13 days. The pitching crises of the last two days necessitated his call-up, and his command looked a mite rusty.
*The Sox scored their nine runs on just eight hits, thanks to six walks and a 4-for-7 performance with runners in scoring position.
*Everybody had a hit except for Avisail Garcia, who was robbed of one by Semien, who had a nice night at shortstop. Outside of the botched double play, the A's did a lot in the field, which made the nine-run outburst even more impressive.
*Olt had another eventful day at third. He seems to struggle when he has to consider a force at second as well as a throw to first (Abreu placed the tag after a high throw), but then he made a barehanded play down the third-base line on Sogard that came out nowhere.