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White Sox 5, Padres 4: Yolmer Sanchez walk-off snaps skid

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Six-game losing streak over as offense, bullpen grind out victory

San Diego Padres v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

The White Sox ended their six-game losing streak by turning the series’ most unfavorable pitching matchup on its head.

Dylan Covey ran into his typical fifth-inning wall, but some exceptional bullpen work, some good fortune and some bad Padres helped the Sox barge back into the win column with their first walk-off the season.

It was Yolmer Sanchez who sent the 29,111 fans — many of them here for the Hawk Harrelson alarm clock — home happy. After Tyler Saladino drew a leadoff walk off Brad Hand and Leury Garcia bunted him to second, Sanchez fell behind 0-2. Hand tried to put him away with a breaking ball, but Sanchez looked ready for it, staying down and drilling a grounder back through the box. Manuel Margot made a strong throw home, but Saladino’s perfect dive to the plate evaded Austin Hedges’ tag, and it survived a celebration-delaying review.

The game had the makings of a long night when the White Sox gave up a homer on the first pitch of the game for the second straight night. Covey rebounded somewhat, striking out a career-high nine through 413 innings, but he couldn’t come up with a shutdown inning. He gave up a second solo homer, and then a third run when he left the bases loaded for Anthony Swarzak in the fifth inning. Swarzak limited the damage to a sacrifice fly, though, keeping the Padres from a big crooked number that could have kept the game out of reach.

The White Sox offense wasn’t exactly a machine, but it found ways to work against the rejuvenated Trevor Cahill. Avisail Garcia provided the long ball with a second-inning solo shot. When Allen Cordoba answered it in the top of the third with his own solo blast, Jose Abreu circled the bases in his own unique way in the fourth.

First, Abreu reached with one out when Ryan Schimpf couldn’t handle his grounder and his throw pulled Wil Myers off the bag. Then, with Garcia at the plate, Abreu moved to second on a Trevor Cahill wild pitch.

Then, with Garcia at the plate, Abreu moved to third on a wild pitch.

Then, with Garcia at the plate, Abreu scored on a wild pitch.

It was #WILDPITCHOFFENSE in its purest form, and it tied the game.

When the Padres took the lead again with Myers’ sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth, the White Sox might’ve understood that they were going to need to take the lead in order to absorb an answer. Kevan Smith’s seeing-eye single through the left side put the Sox on track in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Saladino doubled him to third, and Leury Garcia’s grounder to second brought Smith home and allowed Saladino to move to third. A great diving stab by Yangervis Solarte on a Sanchez grounder forced Saladino to freeze, but Melky Cabrera picked him up with an eighty-hopper through the middle for a 4-3 lead.

The only problem was that the bullpen -- still missing Nate Jones, Zach Putnam, and (to a lesser extent) Jake Petricka — had to cover 14 outs. Swarzak took care of the first five, stranding two of Covey’s three runners in the fifth, then pitching a perfect sixth. Tommy Kahnle overpowered the Padres in a 10-pitch seventh, and so Rick Renteria tried him in the eighth.

Kahnle gave up a long flyout to Matt Szczur, which foreshadowed Myers’ long game-tying solo blast that followed. Myers cranked a Kahnle fastball 453 feet one pitch after Kahnle knocked him down with a fastball up and in, which is pretty badassed, you have to admit.

That only tied the game, though. Dan Jennings closed out the eighth, and David Robertson pitched around a two-out walk to give the Sox an opportunity to walk it off.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox pitching staff struck out 17 Padres.

*Despite Kahnle’s gopher ball, the bullpen still posted an impressive line: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K.

*Matt Davidson was the only White Sox to go hitless. Making matters worse, he was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a double play.

*Opponents against Covey in the fifth inning: .550/.609/1.050 in 23 PA.

*Regarding Abreu’s run:

Record: 16-18 | Box score