Matt Davidson murdered Cincinnati Reds pitching on Sunday, delivering the death blow with a fifth-inning, three-run homer to put the Chicago White Sox up by four in their eventual 8-5 win.
But it was his at-bat an inning earlier that was significantly more impressive.
After a Tim Anderson double and an Avisail Garcia single sandwiched around a Jose Abreu pop out got the White Sox on the board, Davidson stepped to the plate with two runners on, Chicago down 4-1.
The third sacker got ahead of Reds reliever Vance Worley 3-1 in the count, and you could sense Davidson’s bat coiling, ready for a sweetheart offering to send screaming out to left. But when the husky hurler dumped a trash breaking ball on the ground that Davidson could not resist chasing for strike two, hope got sober and preparations were made for another Matty K.
Rather than give the rest of the at-bat away, Davidson got enough of the barrel on an outer-half curve to clobber a grounder hard enough to break on through to left field, cutting the Cincy lead to 4-2.
Davidson kept the hit train chugging, as his was the second of six straight singles that powered the White Sox to a 5-4 lead in that decisive fourth.
The start of Chicago’s first home win of the spring season was not so sweet.
Jordan Guerrero, teased just two days ago for his 10,000-mile stare into nothingness during photo day, brought such a countenance to the mound as Sunday’s starter, pitching with a malaise that saw him exit after two, down 4-0.
All four of Cincinnati’s runs off of Guerrero came with two out.
Rather than a pitcher slinging for respect from an organization who left him hanging and available in this winter’s Rule 5 draft, Guerrero was listless in surrendering four hits, four runs, a walk and hit batsman in an underwhelming effort. At one point, White Sox radio broadcaster Ed Farmer chastised Guerrero for failing to back up home plate as one Reds run crossed.
Things did eventually brighten. Anderson ended the Cincinnati fourth by smothering a Phil Gosselin grounder to save a fifth Reds run—and, natch, led off the White Sox rally-cap half with a ringing double to center field.
Ditto the run of Pale Hose pitchers after Guerrero, who combined for seven innings of three-hit, one-run, three-walk, eight-strikeout ball. Jordan Stephens was perhaps the most impressive of the bunch, striking out three and walking one in two scoreless innings. Rob Scahill likewise pitched two innings of scoreless relief, earning the win.
The day began on a note even stranger than Guerrero’s shelled start, as Micker Adolfo was pronounced injured, but not so injured he couldn’t DH all season long in the minors.
Next up for the White Sox is a Monday tilt hosting the Oakland A’s at Camelback Ranch, same bat time, same bat webcast.