The White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak by winning a game they had no business taking. Not with Mat Latos leaving an unfavorable pitching matchup against Steven Matz trailing 4-0, with a couple of uncharacteristic errors by Todd Frazier hurting the cause.
Somehow, though, the Sox stormed back while facing not one, but two of the Mets' best starters. They were able to beat Matz the third time through for three runs, then weathered the first career relief appearance by Noah Syndergaard to sting Hansel Robles for three more. All the while, the Sox bullpen contributed four scoreless innings.
Tyler Saladino took a starring role in it, going 2-for-2 with two walks, two stolen bases, and, most importantly, the go-ahead homer. Two batters after Melky Cabrera started the eighth with a walk off Robles, Saladino won a seven-pitch battle by hammering a high 2-2 fastball out to left to give the Sox a 5-4 lead. Although Dioner Navarro flied to right for the second out, the Sox still managed to scratch across a sixth run after two walks and a Brett Lawrie single.
Nate Jones pitched around a two-out single in the eighth, and David Robertson tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to cap off a great night for the relievers, which was sorely needed.
This game had the all the makings of a predictable loss. Latos looked hittable, but Frazier didn't help. The Mets took a 2-0 lead through two thanks to mistakes by Frazier -- dropping a tough flip on a potential double-play ball at second on a shift, then throwing high on a relatively routine charging play to start the second. Latos allowed those mistakes to cross the plate, then compounded the errors in the third by giving up Neil Walker's second homer in as many days, a two-run shot that gave New York a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Matz ran his scoreless streak to 19 innings after holding the Sox down through five, and he actually had his best numbers the third time through the order (6-for-37, no extra-base hits).
The Sox helped correct that. Jose Abreu started the sixth with a single off James Loney -- who didn't look all that sharp at first base -- and Frazier got back his runs with a two-run homer to left, cutting the Mets' lead in half. Cabrera followed with a single, but Garcia grounded into a double play to put Matz back on track ... or so we thought.
Saladino had other ideas. He drew his second walk of the game, stole second on the first pitch, stole third on the second pitch, and came home on the third pitch when Dioner Navarro singled just over the glove of Asdrubal Cabrera to make it a 4-3 game.
The Sox had narrowed the gap enough to make Terry Collins call for his secret weapon. He hinted that Syndergaard could get an inning to make up for his abbreviated outing earlier in the week, and he came out in the seventh for some work against the top of the Chicago order. He struck out Adam Eaton, but Lawrie reached on an Asdrubal Cabrera error to make it interesting. Alas, Abreu lined out firmly to center, and although Lawrie stole second, Fraizer lost a battle by whiffing on a 92-mph changeup to end the inning.
I wonder if it helped the Sox in the end, though:
The theory of relativity suggests every other Mets reliever should look like pedestrian garbage now.— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) June 1, 2016
*Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings, Jones and Robertson each threw a scoreless inning. It was nice to see Putnam come in when the score mattered, and it kept it a one-run game by pitching around a pair of two-out singles.
*The Sox were 4-for-4 stealing bases, with Jimmy Rollins taking second off Jerry Blevins in the eighth inning after he reached with a pinch-hit walk.
*Saladino walked twice after only having one over his first 24 games.