It’s going to take a while for the White Sox to get past Chris Sale’s livery mutiny, but this is a start.
Adam Eaton made sure the suspended game stayed regulation-sized by delivering a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth inning. Avisail Garcia of all people made it possible, leading off the inning with an infield single off Justin Wilson and stealing second base with nobody covering.
Dioner Navarro popped out and J.B. Shuck grounded out, the latter moving Garcia to third. That brought Eaton to the plate, and he and Wilson locked horns into a full count before Eaton redirected a 97 mph fastball through the left side to win it.
David Robertson picked up the victory, his reward for stranding the go-ahead run at second in the eighth inning on Saturday before the rains came in, then pitching around a two-out double by Ian Kinsler today. That capped off a tremendous effort by the bullpen, which had to cover for Sale after he was scratched from his start and later suspended for cutting up the team’s 1976 throwback uniforms.
Matt Albers started this one. The last time he was pressed into action in a role he wasn’t designed for, he won the game for them. The Sox won this game, too, so maybe relief pitching is his third-best skill. He allowed an unearned run over two innings of work, putting the Sox bullpen on a decent trajectory.
Albers, Dan Jennings and Tommy Kahnle stitched together the equivalent of a quality start, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out six. The first run was aided by the defense, as Navarro bounced a throw into center field, allowing Cameron Maybin to go from first to third on a stolen base. Kahnle allowed an opposite-field homer to Justin Upton in his second inning of work in the sixth, but the front end of the bullpen ultimately did its job.
Nate Jones was the weak link. After Zach Duke pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, Jones got off to a tough start by bungling Maybin’s soft comebacker. Maybin stole second, then scored two batters later when Nick Castellanos muscled a fastball to right field. That single caused the game to drag into Sunday, rather than resulting in a rain-abbreviated winner. He left with two outs and two on, but Robertson struck out Tyler Collins to strand them.
Garcia and Navarro joined the bullpen in exceeding expectations, as they contributed to all four runs. In the second, Garcia hit a sac fly to tie the game at 1, and Navarro followed with a double to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. In the fourth, Garcia ripped a 91 mph fastball through the wind and out to left for his first homer since May 28, which was 141 plate appearances ago.