Earlier this season, the White Sox hit seven home runs in a game for only the second time in their 115-year history.
The first time they did it back in 1955, they also set the franchise record for runs in a game with a 29-6 thrashing of the Kansas City Athletics. When they tried it again this season, they ... lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 10-8. They became just the second franchise to belt seven homers and lose.
Likewise, on Sunday, Chris Sale became the first pitcher in White Sox history to strike out 200 batters in four consecutive years, and the first White Sox pitcher in 20 years to throw five consecutive eight-inning starts. That should also be a recipe for success, but the offense gave him zero support, and they lost to the Royals 2-0.
These Sox have shown a knack for extracting the joy out of meaningful accomplishments, and ones that should normally put the entire team in a position to win, if not win easily.
Fortunately, they got out of their own way when making history against the Indians on Monday. For the second time in their 115-year history — at least the last 104 years with box scores — the White Sox scored in every single inning they came to the plate. Better yet, because they led comfortably in a game at U.S. Cellular Field this time, they only had to score in eight innings.
The White Sox routed the Indians 11-4 on Monday, and here’s how they did it:
- First inning: Jose Abreu fielder’s choice scores Adam Eaton.
- Second inning: Omar Narvaez sac fly scores Avisail Garcia.
- Third inning: Abreu double scores Tim Anderson.
- Fourth inning: Garcia solo homer.
- Fifth inning: Abreu scores on a two-out dropped third strike by Carlos Perez. This is like the opposite the Dewayne Wise catch:
- Sixth inning: Eaton solo homer.
- Seventh inning: Tyler Saladino double scores Garcia, and an Eaton single scores Saladino.
- Eighth inning: Todd Frazier two-run homer.
The homer, which came after two outs and a J.B. Shuck walk that extended the inning, was momentous for player and team. For Frazier, it was his career-high 36th. For the Sox, it gave them a run in every inning, at least the eight in which they hit. They did not need to try in the ninth, because Miguel Gonzalez posted another quality start and the bullpen kept the margin quite comfortable.
Historically good performances, emotionally enhanced by the performance of the team as a whole -- this is kinda how it’s supposed to go.
The White Sox had an easier time winning this one in comparison to their 1949 counterparts, who were the only other Sox team to score a run in every inning. On May 11 that year, the White Sox went 1-1-2-1-2-1-1-3 to beat the Red Sox at Comiskey Park. They needed more of those runs, as they only edged the Boston by a score of 12-8.
The Chicago Tribune acknowledged the history, but gave it second billing in its lede:
Ted Williams, the illustrious member of Joe McCarthy’s Red Sox, helped to entertain with his No. 7 homer yesterday at Comiskey park [sic], but the blow didn’t disturb the White Sox to any extent. They went in for extra bases themselves, but in a big way, and by scoring in all of their eight innings on attack against four Boston throwers, starting with Tex Hughson, fashioned a 12 to 8 verdict for themselves in the opener of a two game series.
(Journalism wasn't better in the old days. That second sentence is a monstrosity.)
While the Sox couldn’t confirm through Elias, Stats or other research services that they hadn’t accomplished the feat in the incomplete-record era, the Sporting News brief from its May 18, 1949, suggests it was a first for the franchise. The magazine says the White Sox became the fifth team to score in every inning, posting the line scores from the other games. Only one of them occurred before 1912:
Based on this account, I'm comfortable calling May 11, 1949 a first for the Sox, and Monday the second.
Like Monday, the White Sox had to keep applying steady pressure after the opponents scored a big crooked number. The White Sox led Boston 4-0 through three, trailed 5-4 after the top of the fourth, and tied it at 5 in the bottom of that inning.
Also just like Monday, the White Sox had help from the opposing defense — specifically the catcher -- to notch runs in every inning. Here’s how it went down in 1949:
- First inning: Jerry Scala attempts an inside-the-park homer and receives assistance from Boston catcher Birdie Tebbetts, who drops the ball on the tag. It scored a triple and an error.
- Second inning: Cass Michaels leads off with a walk and makes it the other 270 feet on three Bobby Doerr errors.
- Third inning: Luke Appling and Gus Zernial hit back-to-back doubles, and Michaels adds an RBI single to score Zernial.
- Fourth inning: Zernial hits a sac fly to score Gordon Goldsberry.
- Fifth inning: Floyd Baker triples to score Michaels, and Don Wheeler singles home Baker.
- Sixth inning: Zernial triples with one out and scores on a Jack Robinson balk.
- Seventh inning: Goldsberry singles with two outs to score Baker.
- Eighth inning: After two walks to start the inning, Michaels triples them both home, then scores on Baker’s singles.
Williams’ homer did make it more of a nail-biter than it should’ve been, as the White Sox only led 9-8 before their three runs in the eighth put it out reach. That said, it still wasn’t deserving of the lede. Is it too late for a letter to the editor?
A couple other fun things I found while digging:
*White Sox GM Frank Lane was on the right side of history when it came to television.
*The White Sox had tried shortening Comiskey Park with a chicken-wire fence in the outfield to give their power-starved franchise a boost, but they removed it after it worked more to the benefit of visiting teams. The Sporting News showed the home-run distances with and without the makeshift fence.
*This headline is the best.
10/10 headline. pic.twitter.com/UNf6Ddp2LS— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) September 13, 2016