Assuming he doesn't return to the White Sox after this season, this start pretty much encapsulated the Jeff Samardzija era. He fell behind before the White Sox were able to hit thanks in part to the defense, he gave up some dingers, and while he ended up giving the Sox innings, his teammates stumbled over themselves while trying to make up the deficit.
Hey, at least the Sox set off some fireworks on their part. Trayce Thompson, Tyler Saladino and Jose Abreu all hit solo shots to narrow the gap to 4-3 and make it mildly enjoyable, but then Thompson had to go look like a rookie with a two-run error in the eighth inning that put the game out of reach.
Going through the list:
First-inning deficit: Francisco Lindor crushed a high slider off the wall in center for a triple (barely beating a relay, because Lindor wasn't running his hardest and Adam Eaton got caught too close to the wall to pick it up cleanly), then scored when Jose Abreu double-clutched on Michael Brantley's grounder instead of throwing home.
Some dingers: Samardzija then gave up solo shots to Jose Ramirez and Lindor in the fifth inning to fall behind 4-1 (Jason Kipnis dropped a double down the left-field in in the third, as Samardzija had a problem with odd-numbered innings).
Innings: Samardzija came back with a scoreless sixth and two outs in the seventh, with Dan Jennings stranding two runners to save his line.
Stumbles: With runners on first and second and one out, Chris Johnson hit a single through the right side. Thompson was already playing shallow, so Lonnie Chisenhall was set to stop at third base ... until Thompson lifted his head and let the ball scoot under his glove and behind him for a two-run, two-base error.
The Sox offense was late getting started against Josh Tomlin, as Thompson's second-inning homer was the only damage through five.
Then the Times Through the Order Penalty kicked in. Saladino and Abreu went back-to-back in the sixth, and a two-out Avisail Garcia single forced Terry Francona to pull Tomlin before he completed the inning, adding a little bit of tension to the proceedings.
Likewise, the Sox made it interesting in the ninth when Garcia led off with a double and Thompson cashed him in with a single to right-center to narrow the gap to 6-4 with the tying run at the plate. But Cody Allen came back to strike out Alexei Ramirez and Mike Olt (pinch-hitting for Carlos Sanchez), and Tyler Flowers (hitting for himself) grounded out to short to end the game.
*Thompson made a diving catch in right field, so he really was all over the place.
*Frankie Montas pitched around a leadoff single for a scoreless ninth.
*Micah Johnson struck out in his return to the big leagues thanks to Eric Cooper's strange strike zone. But he got his at-bat by pinch-hitting for Saladino, who is the No. 2 hitter. It seems odd to pinch-hit for the No. 2 hitter.
*Rob Brantly seems fun.
Two GIFs in two days for Rob Brantly. Making the most of this cup of coffee. pic.twitter.com/dsNkoJEykK— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) September 10, 2015