So, those of you who figured it was only a matter of time after the Chicago White Sox were down 4-0 and 5-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays on the wings of another flaccid Lucas Giolito start that the South Siders would storm back in the bottom of the eighth and put up more runs in one frame than they have all year, step forward.
Uh, scratch that, I meant to say, if you are a dirty, dastardly liar, step forward. Grab some bench, you deceitful souls.
Those honest souls among readership — and let’s hope this counts nearly 100% of you — stick around and finish this recap.
’Cause it’s a fun one, man. It’s been four months — Opening Day, to be exact — since we’ve been able to enjoy such a sour start sweetened by stirring strides toward an absolutely unexpected win. Mercy!
In the spirit of #CheckAllTheBoxes, let’s get the bitter medicine out first. And by bitter medicine, that’s all but one Yolmer Sánchez swing and one Nicky Delmonico swing out of the first six innings and change of this game.
The Blue Jays seemed destined, behind the dulcet hurls of 537-time reliever, zero-time starter John Axford, to cruise to a second straight win, going up 1-0 with three straight singles just four batters in against Giolito. In the second, a walk and three singles upped the Chicago deficit to 3-0. In the fourth, Toronto dispensed with all the station-to-station nonsense and tacked on a fourth run when Russell Martin homered. And in the fifth, a ground out sandwiched by a double and single tacked on one final run to Giolito’s tab, bouncing him from the game at 4 1⁄3 innings, nine hits, five earned, a walk, three Ks, a homer and a 28 game score — his fourth-worst all season.
Chicago’s only score had come on Sánchez’s homer, so not even halfway home, the Good Guys were down, 5-1. In the seventh, Delmonico homered and Leury García singled in Kevan Smith to trim the Toronto lead to 5-3, but really, you’d be forgiven if you figured the White Sox were merely going through the motions to keep the game respectable for a bawdy, Saturday night home crowd.
Then came the eighth.
The delicious, glorious, indubitable eighth.
The aperitivo for the inning was provided by Toronto’s Jamie García. García graciously walked Yoán Moncada, then failed to execute on a Sánchez double-play ball, keeping a runner on for José Abreu to double over to third.
Exit García, our delightful host, with the table set to tie the game.
The Blue Jays opted for trusted reliever Ryan Tepera to clear that table and claw into the ninth with the lead intact. However, Tepera didn’t just prove a gracious host, he left the front door unlocked so the White Sox could ransack every room of the house.
Avisaíl García looked bad on his first two pitches, a wild cut at a ball dovetailing toward his foot and a shank pop back behind home plate off a center-cut, 0-1 fastball. Confidence undiminished, and with Martin setting up high and away for another Avi chase sequence, Tepera instead delivered the ball juicy, but outer half. García, pressing, pulled the ball, rolling it over with a dribbler to the left side ... that found daylight just past third baseman Brandon Drury’s glove, scoring Sánchez.
Blue Jays 5, White Sox 4. Sometimes the ball bounces your way.
With one out and runners at the corners, Tepera’s first-pitch cutter sliced the laces on Delmonico’s left cleat, and just like that, the sacks were packed. Closer Matt Davidson gave way to pinch-hitter Daniel Palka, to best exploit a lefty-righty matchup and a Palka Smash mashup.
Palka ran the count against the rattled Tepera to 3-0. Palka’s Sonny Crockett beard was a-quivering with excitement up in the catbird seat, as he waggled his Captain Caveman club with dreams of a slam. After taking the requisite 3-0 strike, Palka whip-cracked the next fastball into a hellacious worm-burner to right, scoring Abreu and Avi.
Yolmer, we're going to need you to get on base.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 29, 2018
José, get Yolmer and yourself into scoring position.
Avi, bring home Yolmer and be ready to run when Nicky gets you to second.
And Palk.... Smash. pic.twitter.com/lgdsXEtnbR
White Sox 6, Blue Jays 5. Redemption.
Runners at the corners, and after Martin took a ball flush on his right (throwing) hand as Kevan Smith attempted a safety squeeze but bristled up like a true catcher and copped a squat for another pitch, Smith failed a second time on the squeeze. The scrappy backstop worked the count to 2-2, when Tepera bruised his left arm with a 94.7 mph “sinker” (huh, Gamecast?). Smith takes HBPs like he’s Robert Conrad wearing batteries on his right shoulder.
The inning is starting to run long, so we now pause for a commercial break:
Sacks again packed, Jays manager John Gibbons determined to arrive too late to save the drowning Tepera with no one warming, Leury García slapped a triple into the left-field corner off a pretty sweet sinker, clearing the bases. That big blow gave Leury a career-high four RBIs in the game.
White Sox 9, Blue Jays 5. What a way to make a living.
Jason Benetti summed up the excitement in our household, from the second-biggest crowd of the season at the park, and hopefully your own lightheaded, giddy viewing situation thusly: “THE WHITE SOX WITH A VOLCANO IN THE 8TH INNING!”
Jace Fry, whose own club’s unmitigated devotion to offense — yeah boy, that six-run eighth represents the highest run total in any single inning for the White Sox this season — snatched away his first save opp post Soria, shut Toronto down to trap this W in amber.