Nicholas Castellanos, who became just the third player since 1946 to have a five-hit, five-RBI game against the Chicago White Sox, stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth as the tying run, with runners on the corners.
But just one day after his five-hit assault and seeming indestructibility vs. Chicago, Castellanos capped an 0-for-5 night after he was caught looking at a 2-2 cutter right off the plate, proving once again that the route from hero to goat can often be an express lane.
With nails nonetheless gnawed down to the nibs, the White Sox held on, 6-3, in a game that was as well-played on the Chicago end as it was poorly executed yesterday.
Lucas Giolito deserves top billing for the win, muscling through a workmanlike start, shaken but hardly stirred. Giolito continued his uneven but hopeful second half by going six innings with eight hits, three earned, just one walk, seven Ks and a 56 game score. In a fairly radical departure from his wild thing season, Giolito spun 73 strikes of 99 pitches.
The win came down to a tale of two innings for Giolito, one bad, the other stellar.
In the first, Giolito was spotted a 3-0 lead on the strength of a Daniel Palka RBI single (smoked, what new, at 111 mph) and a bizarre, clown-car defensive effort by Detroit that resulted in two runs being scored on a single Kevan Smith sacrifice fly.
Yep.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 15, 2018
Definitely planned that.
Just how you draw it up. pic.twitter.com/dXEa0RHAW4
But the lanky righthander gave it all back in the bottom half, after a two-run double by Victor Martinez and an RBI single from Jim Aducci.
If this was the first half, Giolito might have melted down, continuing to try pitching through traffic and perhaps not getting into the fifth inning. Instead, he settled down and staunched any possible damage—until the sixth.
In that frame, Giolito loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, setting the entire White Sox dugout on the edge of their seats.
But the big man hunkered down and extinguished the rally, getting James McCann to fly out harmlessly to right (overheard from Smith, to Giolito: “C’mon, two more, let’s go!”), whiffing Mike Gerber, and inducing a pop out from Victor Reyes.
Jason Benetti: “Bases loaded, nobody out, and none shall pass.” Tom Paciorek: “He really bowed his neck.”
The pen held firm, with Jace Fry (two-inning hold) and Xavier Cedeño (first White Sox save) combining for three innings, one hit and six Ks. (Juan Minaya came on for the possible save in the bottom of the ninth, but walked leadoff man Mikie Mahtook and got the hook.)
In the second, Chicago counterpunched after Detroit had tied it up on the strength of a Ryan LaMarre home run, the game-winning RBI and first home run of his career. All the sweeter, LaMarre did it in front of his hometown crowd, with family in attendance.
As if a first major league dinger wasn’t cool enough, guess who caught the ball?
In the fifth, José Abreu inside-outed a worm-burner to right that skidded all the way to the wall for a two-run double, completing the scoring.
With smoking-hot starter Carlos Rodón on the bump tomorrow (0.98 ERA over his last five starts), the White Sox stand a decent chance of heading back home with a series win in their pockets.