Wind, rain and even snow mostly have tripped up the Chicago White Sox this year, as their 36-game record entering action on Sunday qualified as the worst of the Pale Hose’s 118 seasons.
Playing under the sun, well, that may prove to be something else entirely.
The White Sox bucked recent trends (a seven-game losing streak), a fearsome opponent in the Cubs, series momentum, and an unfavorable pitching matchup (Kyle Hendricks vs. Lucas Giolito) to take the third game of the crosstown series, 5-3.
Things that happened today that should not lead to a win, any win:
- Starter (Giolito) walks seven batters.
- Cubs steal five bases off of catcher Omar Narváez. (Entering the game, they had five all year.)
- The majority of borderline pitches are called against the homebrew Cubs.
- Adam Engel bats leadoff.
- Starter (Giolito) throws as many balls as strikes.
Still, win the White Sox did, and in comeback fashion, to boot.
It was a moral victory simply to allow the Cubs just two runs in the bottom of the first — and that it was just two runs qualifies as a minor miracle. Giolito had two wild pitches, three walks, and allowed four stolen bases, yet somehow escaped by giving up just a two-run single from Javy Baez.
Matt Davidson homered off of Hendricks in the second, cutting the host’s lead to 2-1. Forget Kansas City; Davidson now has three home runs in the city of Chicago this season, two of them coming at Wrigley Field.
In the third, the White Sox evened things up thanks to an aggressive pickoff throw from Johnny Bench-meets-Josh Gibson backstop Willson Contreras. With two out and Adam Engel on first after an infield hit, Contreras’ errant peg pushed Engel to third, with Yolmer Sánchez plating him on an 0-2 single. Hendricks tried to double Sánchez up by chasing a 79 mph changeup with a 78 mph copy, and failed.
Giolito would give up just two hits over 5 2⁄3 innings, and the second, an RBI double by Ian Happ in the fourth, gave the Cubs their final lead of the game.
The North Siders would get just three baserunners in the final four innings, and two of those came from Giolito’s sixth and seventh free passes of the ballgame.
In the sixth, José Abreu singled and Nicky Delmonico tripled him in to tie the score at 3. Davidson plated Delmonico with a sac fly and the eventual winning run.
Dastardly Tim Anderson scored an utterly gratuitous run in the seventh, singled in by Leury García and marking the first tally allowed by Brian Duensing all year.
Meanwhile Jace Fry, Nate Jones and Bruce Rondón — earning his first save of the season and perhaps establishing himself as the closest thing the White Sox have to a closer — locked the Cubs down the rest of the way.
But really, credit to Giolito, who in spite of seven walks and an insane 50 of 100 pitches for strikes, earned his second win of the season with a 50 game score. Maybe in some flippy-floppy way, proving to himself that he can muscle out a win under adverse circumstances largely of his own making (aka the Reynaldo López Paradox) could provide Giolito with the confidence boost that sets him on a run of better outings.
After an off-day Monday, the White Sox head east to Pittsburgh to see if they can wreak some revenge on the Pirates in a short, two-game set.