What a weird baseball game.
Despite Jose Quintana only lasting 4.1 innings, the defense committing four errors, and questionable MLB replay decisions the White Sox won today thanks to Yolmer Sanchez's eighth inning home run. Someway, somehow defeating the Texas Rangers 6-5 as they reach the midway point of 2017.
It started off well for the Sox, as Melky Cabrera hit a solo home run, his ninth of 2017, in the first inning. That one-run lead held until the third inning which featured the first of two questionable MLB replay decisions. Not helping is how Texas took advantage of some abysmal defensive play from the White Sox and the entire infield had a hand in it.
Pete Kozma reached base with one out on a missed catch error by Todd Frazier. On the next play, it appeared that Delino DeShields hit into a 6-4 fielders choice, but Yolmer Sanchez mistimed his transition and didn't keep his foot on second base after Texas challenged the initial ruling. Kozma after a call to New York was found safe, and the Rangers had runners on first and second.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a slow roller that forced Tim Anderson to move to his right. After fielding the ball, he couldn't find the ears to make a throw, and Choo was credited with an infield single. If Anderson had a good grip, he easily had Kozma at third base, but instead, it was bases loaded with one out for Elvis Andrus.
Quintana got what he needed inducing a grounder from Andrus to Matt Davidson at third base. Instead of making a throw to home getting an easy out and preventing a run, or stepping on third and throwing to first base, Davidson chose option three in attempting to turn a 5-4-3 double play. The issue was it appeared to be a slow transition getting the ball to second as Sanchez was leg whipped by Choo who is trying to prevent the turn. The initial ruling on the field was that Choo made an illegal slide as he made contact with Sanchez outside of the basepath. Texas challenged the call, and New York deemed the slide was legal. Run scored, and it was now a tied ballgame, 1-1.
That wouldn't last long as the Sox scored three runs in the bottom of the third. After back-to-back walks for Alen Hanson and Melky Cabrera, Jose Abreu hit his 22nd double of 2017 scoring Hanson. With runners on second and third, Todd Frazier hit a RBI single to left plating Cabrera and moving Abreu to third, who would later score on Davidson's sacrifice fly to right field. Making up for a poor defensive showing in the top half, the Sox had a 4-1 lead after three innings.
Of course, that wouldn't last with how today was going for Quintana and the defense. In the fourth, Mike Napoli hit his 16th home run of the season to make it 4-2. Then, catcher, Robinson Chirinos attempted to steal second base. Kevan Smith's throw resembled like a Jay Cutler deep pass over the head of Sanchez and into center field. Compounding the problem further, Adam Engel's Rex Grossman-like toss was nowhere near third base, and Matt Davidson had no backup. The ball rolled to the White Sox dugout, and Chirinos scampered home on a play that looked better suited on a nearby little league diamond than a major league ballpark. Chicago now only lead 4-3.
Texas took the lead in the fifth as with no outs loaded the bases against Quintana. After striking out Carlos Gomez looking, manager Rick Renteria decided that was enough for his starter. Quintana's final line: 4.1 IP 6 H 5 R 3 ER 2 BB 5 K. Anthony Swarzak came in for relief and struck out Mike Napoli for the second out. Just when it appeared that yet again Texas would come out empty with the bases loaded and no outs, Jonathon Lucroy's fly ball was just far enough out of Sanchez's reach and too shallow for Hanson to get it. The single scored two runs, and Texas now had the 5-4 lead.
In the seventh inning was the second questionable MLB replay decision against the White Sox. After Adam Engel had drawn the leadoff walk, he attempted to steal second base. Initially ruled out on the field, it appeared on television replay that Engel was, in fact, safe as his foot was clearly on the bag before being tagged. Perhaps the camera angles that MLB offices in New York have at Guaranteed Rate Field that somehow the television crews don't show a different picture. Because after the umpires had taken off their headsets, Engel was still called out.
It didn't appear to be much of a rally in the bottom of the eighth. Jose Abreu popped out in foul territory, Frazier walked, but Davidson struck out swinging putting Sanchez at the plate with two outs. Rangers reliever, Jose Leclerc, was ahead of Sanchez with a 1-2 count. In his attempt to put away Sanchez, he hung his slider over the middle of the plate. Sanchez didn't miss and crushed Leclerc's mistake to the right field bleachers. A two-run shot for Sanchez's fourth home run of 2017 and the Sox now had a 6-5 lead.
That moment of joy almost didn't last as Sox closer David Robertson had a journey for himself in the ninth inning. With a runner on first and two outs, Andrus doubled to left field, and the Rangers had runners on second and third. Even though Robertson needed just one more out, the Sox decided to walk Adrian Beltre and take their chances against Gomez. That decision paid off as Robertson got Gomez to strike out swinging ending the threat and the game.