A strong 6 ½ innings by the battery made it look like the Chicago White Sox were on their way to their first 3-0 start since 1992. Reynaldo Lopez pitched six strong innings, and Welington Castillo hit solo home runs in the fourth and seventh innings, so Rick Renteria handed a 2-1 lead to the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh.
Of course, with a one-run lead, the game can change course on a dime. Luis Avilan walked Curtis Granderson with one out and gave way to Danny Farquhar. The righthander got a weak flyout from Randall Grichuk, but he grooved a 1-2 fastball to Russell Martin, who got it to carry, carry, carry into the bullpen in left. Suddenly the Sox were down 3-2, victims of the same kind of comeback they executed in Kansas City. (Farquhar gave up another home run to Aledmys Diaz in the eighth, just for good measure.)
It’s a shame, because Lopez looked fantastic early. His command wasn’t great, but it was good enough given the quality of his stuff. He was buzzing fastballs past Toronto Blue Jays hitters all night, sitting around 97 and topping out at 99, and getting strikes with all four of his pitches. Lopez struck out six and didn’t give up a hit until an infield single in the fifth.
In fact, he only gave up two hits total, but the second one stung a bit more: In the sixth inning, Josh Donaldson did that thing he does where he just kind of pokes the ball the other way and it goes over the fence down the right field line.
That tied the game at 1, because the Sox couldn’t get much going on offense. Other than Castillo’s home runs, the hitters were stymied by wily, soft-tossing lefty Jaime Garcia. He struck out seven White Sox in six innings of work, using his hard-biting slider to keep the hitters off-balance and getting a couple double plays and TOOTBLANs to escape jams. Garcia matched Lopez pitch for pitch, and the Blue Jays won the battle of the bullpens.
With a 4-2 lead, Roberto Osuna came on and retired the side in order, giving the Sox their first L of the season.
- One of the aforementioned TOOTBLANs came in third, when Yolmer Sanchez was “hit” by an errant changeup (replay upon a challenge was inconclusive), stole second, and moved to third when Martin’s throw skipped into center. Adam Engel then hit a grounder to third, and instead of retreating the 10 feet or so back to the bag, Sanchez froze and got caught in a rundown.
- The other came when Jose Abreu challenged Granderson by tagging from first on a routine fly to left in the sixth. Granderson threw him out by about four strides.
- The Sox had only six hits on the night—three by Abreu, a leadoff single by Yoan Moncada, and Castillo’s homers.
- The White Sox fall to 2-1 on the young season. Miguel Gonzalez will face off against J.A. Happ tomorrow evening.