Not sure if we’re going to call this a fun game, but the Good Guys won, and for the first time in 10 tries over two seasons in Cleveland, so no arguments here.
It was newly-mustachioed Matt Davidson who delivered the 5-4 win, with two outs in the 11th, scoring Yolmer Sánchez (leadoff hustle double) from third.
Sometime about eight weeks ago, this game began, with the White Sox jumping on Josh Tomlin, who struggled with his command from the get-go. Avisaíl García tapped in Yoán Moncada in the first,
Moncada drilled a two-run double in the second,
and Omar Narváez went deep in the third, pacing Chicago to a 4-0 cushion.
James Shields, pitching in James Shields style, got the job done, going six innings on five hits, two earned and three walks against one K, for a 43 game score. He walked the bases loaded in the first but escaped unscathed, and was touched for the only time in the game in the third, when Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley went back-to-back with solo shots.
Things progressed well enough until the eighth, when four White Sox pitchers conspired, via wild pitch and bases-loaded walk, to allow Cleveland to tie.
The inning got off on the wrong foot when Adam Engel made a rare late read on a ball over his head, getting turned around and transforming Lindor’s towering warning-track fly into a late-hustle triple off of Aaron Bummer.
From there, it was a march of wooden soldiers, Bummer to Rob Scahill to Caleb Frare to Juan Minaya, none of whom were terribly effective. Bummer almost immediately wild-pitched Lindor home (a great read by the shortstop to aggressively snatch the plate on a ball most would not have attempted an advance on), bookended by a titanic battle between Minaya and Melky Cabrera. Cabrera fought from down 0-2 to work a 10-pitch walk from Minaya, who was not pleased to plate the tying run with a splitter that wobbled out of his hand.
Anyway, with the game tied, the White Sox rallied and were squelched in the ninth and 10th, Cleveland ended its 10th when Brandon Barnes was hit by a Jason Kipnis grounder, and then the 11th allowed Chicago to fuel its plane home at midnight, and hightail home to start crosstown play tomorrow afternoon.
As went the running joke between Steve Stone and Wimpy Paciorek all broadcast, standing room tickets are available for Friday and Sunday, so get yours quick!
And as another running joke went, at this rate, Davidson is going to be bald for the opener tomorrow afternoon.