The death march road trip through inhumane humidities and two of the hotter teams in baseball in the Cincinnati Reds and Houston continued on Thursday, and this 4-3 loss to the Astros was a special kind of hurt.
Joakim Soria gave up his first two earned runs in almost two months, blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth, with cultural sensitivity clown Yuli Gurriel providing the game-winning hit on an excuse-me spank to right with the bases full.
Soria’s one-third of an inning featured two walks and three hits, and erased a solid overall game played by the South Siders.
The White Sox fended off Grandpa Justin Verlander, whiffing 10 times by his hand but surely annoying the graybeard to no end in the sixth. In that frame, Omar Narváez led off with towering homer down the right-field line, and with two outs, Yoán Moncada’s single and Yolmer Sánchez’s double knotted the game, 2-2.
Houston had drawn first blood in previous inning, when José Altuve clocked a colossal, two-run shot far over the utterly reprehensible Halliburton sign in left field. The reigning MVP stared at his blast, took several slow steps before beginning his trot, then took his helmet off and did some extra, rah-rah bullcrappery at home plate.
I couldn’t give one serving of fresh hell over Altuve’s antics. Albert Pujols filing his nails at the plate after clocking a 500-footer used to make me drop my monocle, but there’s gotta be bigger things bunch underwear over these days. Although, given Houston’s cranky old starter and his history with the White Sox, well, eh, I guess you got a ring, you show your ass however you want to, with impunity. But still, how about a ruling, @JustinVerlander?
Carlos Rodón pitched well enough to win, sort of. His game score of 48 betrays the fact that he was mostly able to scurry out of trouble of his own making: Five hits and six walks were offset somewhat by six Ks. With a 4.29 ERA a month back into pitching, Rodón seems like he’s gonna be all right.
In the eighth, the man who can do no wrong on this road trip, Leury García, clocked a one-out solo shot to center that looked as if it might earn the White Sox the win.
But Soria was off tonight, walking lead batter Tony Kemp, and basically booting the game from there.
Narváez had his best game of the season, scalding the ball on a two-for-three night, his lone out being a screaming meemie to right field just ahead of García’s dinger. Defensively, he blocked balls very well throughout the game. Kevan Smith’s presence has been a nice push for Narváez overall.
Tim Anderson got whacked on the forearm with a pitch in the eighth, stole his 20th base of the season with a hilariously good jump, and continued savvy baserunning by advancing to third on a fly out to right. As of tonight, TA is one of only two players in baseball (Trea Turner) with at least 10 homers and 20 steals.
Anderson left the game in the bottom of the inning, probably (hopefully? heaven help us) as a precaution.
Still, Chicago struck out 11 times to no walks, and faces Top 20 K maestro Lance McCullers Jr., on extra rest, tomorrow night.