Thursday’s getaway game that got away, won by the Minnesota Twins, 2-1 in 13 innings, was the tale of four rallies. As is always the case in extras, the rally that’s cashed in last is the one that counts most.
For the Twins, opportunity laid itself open when Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito threw three, five-pitch walks to Minny hitters, sandwiched around two ground outs. After a scolding from pitching coach Don Cooper wherein Coop didn’t even bother with the formality of covering his mouth to disguise secret plans (lip reading analysis revealed something akin to “throw strikes, #(%&@)$*”), Giolito started Ehire Adrianza with ... three straight balls.
Realizing he’d have to return to the dugout and sit next to Coop after the inning either way, Giolito shook himself out of his Nuke LaLoosh trance and dealt two strikes and a foul, before inducing a pop out to shortstop Tim Anderson.
Giolito threw 26 pitches in the opener, but his shutout and no-hitter remained intact. It took until the sixth inning, on a deflected line drive (off José Abreu) down the right-field line that went for a double, for the Twins to record their first hit.
In the sixth, Twins starter Jake Odorizzi returned the favor to Chicago. A Yoán Moncada double off the wall in center, Abreu intentional pass and Matt Davidson unintentional pass packed the sacks with Sox, with two down. Birthday boy Kevan Smith then strode to the plate and commenced an epic, 14-pitch battle with Odorizzi, who in the process blew past his season high in pitches (to 112). But on that 14th pitch, Smith flied out to right field, and the game remained scoreless.
Anticlimactically, Logan Morrison took Giolito’s juicy, 92 mph heater at the knees very, very deep to start the seventh inning and provide the game-winning tally.
The third opportunity of the game was the first cashed. With two down, Yolmer Sánchez singled, Tim Anderson was hit by a pitch, and Charlie Tilson walked. Pinch-hitter Daniel Palka then played statue, tying the game with a four-pitch walk to send the game to extras. A game-winning walk was not to be, as Moncada worked a 2-0 count before striking out looking, inflaming the fan base, and sending the game to extra frames.
The teams traded outs until the 13th, when Hector Santiago retired the first two batters before surrendering a double to Morrison. Ricky Renteria made the sensible call with two down, an intentional pass to set up a force at three bases — unfortunately forgetting the rash of walking the bases full and walking in runs in this contest.
Sure enough, Jake Cave coaxed a six-pitch walk to load the bases, and none of Santiago’s tosses were clear strikes. Still, with one out to go and a bereft bullpen, Santiago cinched it up against Max Kepler — and surrendered another six-pitch walk, this time on a sinker that didn’t sink into the zone.
Giolito — remember him, the guy who started the game? — rallied nicely, given his rocky first inning, with a 56 game score in 6 1⁄3 innings, four hits, four walks, three Ks and one earned run.
Chicago now embarks on a Swelter Tour, making visits to Arlington, Texas, Cincinnati and Houston, and a wise fan would demand just three wins in those 10 contests.
All in all, not a bad series, taking two of three against a so-called playoff contender. How do the White Sox finish, in their last 84 games?
This poll is closed
.300 ball (25 wins), 53-109 finish
.350 ball (29 wins), 57-105 finish
.400 ball (33 wins), 61-101 finish
.450 ball (38 wins), 66-96 finish
.500 ball (41 wins), 69-93 finish
better than .500 ball (I’ve been day drinking)