When Daniel Palka came up leading off the bottom of the ninth of a scoreless tie, it was hard not to envision him laying into a pitch and ending the game right then and there. He came into the game with 12 of his 17 home runs coming in the sixth inning or later, and with the highest clutch score (0.70) on the team. Palka got a 1-2 fastball high and outside and gave it a ride to deep left field, sending it well over the left field fence for his 18th home run of the year and a thrilling 1-0 White Sox win.
The game was scoreless that late into the night because of another brilliant start by Carlos Rodón, who spun his sixth straight quality start, and equal dominance by Shane Bieber. Both teams’ offenses were frustrated time and time again, with only ten hits between the two teams and a combined 0-for-11 mark with runners in scoring position. It was that kind of pitchers’ duel.
Rodón came out of the gate looking a bit wild, walking a pair of batters in the first and missing the zone by a full plate a couple times. After throwing just nine strikes in his first 22 pitches and giving up three stolen bases, he snapped off a wicked slider to strike out Brandon Guyer and end the first inning. After that, Rodón settled in, allowing no walks and just four hits the rest of the way. He matched his career long outing, going eight full innings (on 107 pitches), and threw eight scoreless for the second time in his career.
Unfortunately, the Sox offense was unable to give Rodón any support during those eight innings, because Bieber looked the part of a promising young starter. He went 6⅔ innings and struck out eight, leaning heavily on his slider to keep right-handed batters off balance. While Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson each smacked a double, no Sox batter was able to drive in a run off of Bieber.
Things got tense late in the game when the bullpens took over. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan LaMarre hit a leadoff single, and Adam Engel pinch... bunted... for Nicky Delmonico, and proceeded to bunt three straight pitches foul.
Then in the top of the ninth, Rick Renteria did his other favorite thing after bunting: he used three relievers in an inning. Xavier Cedeño (walk) and Juan Minaya (forceout) each faced one batter before handing it over to Jace Fry. Fry allowed a rare hit to lefty Yonder Alonso to give the Indians to baserunners for the first time since the first, but then outlasted Yan Gomes with an 11-pitch strikeout, and then overpowered Jason Kipnis.
The Sox made it to the bottom of the ninth with the game still tied at zero, and PALK SMASH!
- Yolmer Sánchez’s Gatorade bath victim this time was third-base coach Nick Capra.
- Cleveland DH Edwin Encarnación appeared to tweak something in his arm on a swing in the first inning. He was replaced by old friend Melky Cabrera.
- Michael Brantley reached on catcher interference with two outs in the eighth when Omar Narváez clipped his bat. It was the first catcher interference allowed by the Sox this season.