Anthony Ranaudo's first start with the White Sox was going about as well as one could have expected. Up with the major league club for the first time since being acquired on May 12, Ranaudo was called on to make a start with Chris Sale wrapping up his five-game suspension and Jacob Turner showing next to nothing in his two starts. Ranaudo held the Cubs without a hit until the sixth inning, but two home runs from that point made an otherwise excellent debut into a more ordinary one.
Unlike most White Sox starters, Ranaudo had a chance to help his own cause, and boy did he. To start the fifth inning, Cubs starter Jason Hammel gave Ranaudo an 0-1 fastball down Broadway, and Ranaudo hit it just over the basket and into the first row―in right field. The opposite-field shot was Ranaudo's first major league hit, and the first home run by a White Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle at Miller Park in 2009. Much like that game, there were plenty of Sox fans in attendance to cheer for something they wouldn't see at U.S. Cellular Field.
By then, Ranaudo had been cruising after a rocky start. He began the game by walking two of the first three batters, and after falling behind 2-1 to Ben Zobrist, had thrown only 3 of his first 14 pitches for strikes. He managed to get Zobrist and Miguel Montero to ground out, though, walking the same tightrope that several White Sox starters have teetered across this season.
After that big trouble in the first, Ranaudo settled in, retiring 10 straight before conceding a two-out walk to Montero in the fourth. The Cubs couldn't muster a hit until the sixth, but when they did, it was a bomb. With one out, Ranaudo left a rolling curveball over the plate for Kris Bryant, who smashed it into the bleachers to tie the score. Then, with the bullpen warming in the seventh, manager Robin Ventura left Ranaudo in to try to end the inning against the bottom of the order. He walked Jason Heyward with two outs, and then Javier Baez worked the count full before absolutely destroying a baseball to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead and send the Cubs fans into a frenzy.
Ventura immediately came out with the hook, giving Ranaudo this odd line: 6.2 innings pitched, 2 hits, 3 earned runs, with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts.
Carson Fulmer and Jacob Turner proceeded to allow five more runs before recording an out in the eighth, capped off by Addison Russell's first career grand slam. The game was already mostly out of reach by that point, but the Cubs really piled on late.
Meanwhile, the Sox had a difficult time with Hammel, as Ranaudo's homer accounted for their only run of the game. The offense put together minor threats in the first, second, and fourth innings, but failed to score in each case. In fact, only once did the Sox have two baserunners on at the same time, courtesy of a Todd Frazier double and J.B. Shuck walk in the fourth. The team was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranded five.
Chris Sale takes the mound against John Lackey tomorrow night in the final game of the Crosstown Classic. A win from the Condor would give the Sox three out of four.
- Adam Eaton pulled up while running out a groundout in the third. He was hobbling going back to the dugout, but he stayed in for the rest of the game.
- The Cubs broadcasters talked at length about Ranaudo's illustrious high school career, including how he pitched a two-hit shutout and hit a three-run homer in the state title game. It looked like he might have been on the way to a similar performance, but alas.
- Aroldis Chapman made his Cubs debut in the ninth inning in what was shaping up to be a save situation before the Cubs blew it open.