Well, gotta say, Hawk was in rare form today, and perhaps something about the mojo of his official Hawk Harrelson Day helped the Chicago White Sox whitewash the Boston Red Sox, 8-0, in a laugher.
Hawk was fun in the booth, with pal/son/a#(*@&! A.J. Pierzynski, swapping stories that were injected with some new life.
But the important story is that while this combination kept the game flowing pretty well — one sole digression by Hawk, into athletes speaking out on politics aside — the White Sox offense exploded.
Chicago ran out to a 6-0 lead by scoring in each of the first four innings, and only wore the collar in the fifth and seventh en route to eight runs. Tim Anderson homered one out into the game, and later added a pair of doubles. Matt Davidson, Adam Engel, Yoán Moncada and Yolmer Sánchez all tapped out a pair of hits as well, as the White Sox attack struck for 15 hits.
TA7 sets a new career high with his 18th home run of the season! pic.twitter.com/EO2kdzhDxt— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 2, 2018
Another big hit — er, hits — came with two outs in the fourth, when Daniel Palka drove his 20th longball of the season. But it wasn’t that he just screamed a homer out to right field — it’s that he hit a blast that veered just outside of the foul pole earlier in the at-bat, setting off fireworks, and completing a full cycle of the bases before the umpiring crew ruled the ball foul.
The “double homer” left the broadcast crew giddily stunned. As A.J. asked Hawk, “You’ve been in this game 17,000 years, and you’ve never seen that?”
You can put it on the boooooard. Then you can take it off the booooooard. Then you can put it back on the boooooard. Yes! pic.twitter.com/KgM3esNuUs— MLB (@MLB) September 2, 2018
Beyond the offense, James Shields was aces, holding down a Boston attack that has mostly mauled opponents for five months now.
Shields snagged his sixth win, with six innings of scoreless, four-hit ball. He walked two, struck out six, and earned a 70 game score. Shields’ ERA is down to 4.39, and credit due, Big James is an easy target who’s nonetheless been terrific this season. Who knows how much gas he has left in the tank for his career, but Shields has manned up this season, for sure.
The veteran gave way to rookie Caleb Frare, who made his major league debut in the seventh and was perfect, striking out two.
Career strikeout no. 1.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 2, 2018
Congratulations, @Caleb_Frare! pic.twitter.com/E4PwMbFY1X
Juan Minaya duplicated Frare’s inning with a clean eighth, and Hector Santiago was a bit sloppier but polished off the shutout with an inning as well.
The White Sox, buoyed with some new faces, managed to sneak four of seven games from two of the most formidable opponents in the AL, the Red Sox and New York Yankees. Their season record against those two tough foes? 6-7.
Accomplishing the brightest week of the rebuild is a terrific way to launch into the home stretch of September.