As much as I would like to talk about today being the 54th anniversary of the Astrodome being built, maybe even Mark Buehrle’s perfect game (for no reason other than it happened to come against the Tampa Bay Rays), or hell, even the Chicago Bulls potential lottery position, I will stick to the script, and give you loyal fans a recap.
The White Sox started off today’s ballgame the same way they have started their previous two outings, by allowing the visiting team to get on the board in the first inning. This time it was Sox newcomer Ervin Santana allowing things to get out of hand early.
Making his White Sox debut, Santana started today off by giving the first four batters he faced a 2-0 count. Austin Meadows got things rolling for the Rays with a leadoff single to right field, and after stealing second, moved to third on a Tommy Phan fly out to center. Brandon Lowe then sent a sac fly to center field, scoring Meadows and giving the Rays the lead, 1-0.
Santana got out of the first inning after allowing that lone run before letting the Rays increase the lead to two in the second inning. That second run came from the bat of former White Sox Avisaíl García.
In his return to Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time since signing with the Rays in the offseason, García has put together a solid series so far against his former team. After two games, he’e’s hit his first home run with his new team, while going 5-for-10 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Avi’s homer was only the first of two hit in the second inning, however. Following Santana’s second walk of the game to Willy Adames, Austin Meadows sent a home run over the right-center field wall, scoring his third RBI and second run in as many innings and increasing the Rays lead to 4-0.
The Rays made it 5-0 following yet another home run in the top of the third, this time from Brandon Lowe, before the Sox would finally get on the board in the bottom of the inning. Yolmer Sanchez actually got a hit before being sent home on a towering bomb from Yoan Moncada, his third of the year, making the game 5-2.
Aside from that home run, Rays starter Charlie Morton was nasty, pretty much shutting the Sox down at every turn. The righthander ended the day after five innings, with only the two earned runs on three hits and seven K’s.
Santana on the other hand, was nasty as well, just not the “good” type. At times, it did appear that the veteran still has some of his old stuff, but for the vast majority of the day he commanded next to no control on his pitches. Consistently getting behind in counts, and the Rays batters constantly making good contact on what Santana actually put in the zone, equaled a very poor White Sox debut. Santana finished the day with a rough line: of 3 2⁄3 innings, seven hits, seven earned, three walks and a strikeout.
Santana is not alone, however:
Just when things seemed lost for the White Sox, down 8-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning (following two runs in the fourth off of a couple of doubles from Adames and Perez and another Meadows RBI, and Adames scoring again off a wild pitch in the top of the eighth), the South Siders found a way to make the game interesting — albeit for only a short time.
Wilmer Font came into the game to start the sixth inning, replacing Morton to give the Rays two quality innings of relief. Nonetheless, after retiring seven of the first eight batters he faced, Font allowed Moncada to get things going in the eighth with a one-out single to center field.
Following a Yonder Alonso walk and the Rays bringing Ryne Stanek in relief, Tim Anderson kept his hot streak going with his second single of the day, scoring Moncada from second and leaving runners at the corners with two out and the score 8-3.
Wellington Castillo walked, leaving the bases loaded for rookie Eloy Jiménez. The rookie would not disappoint, squeaking an infield hit off of a good, full-count breaking ball from Stanek, scoring Alonso from third, and bringing the Sox even closer, 8-4.
On to their third pitcher of the inning, the Rays replaced Stanek with Jose Alvarado, who proceeded to walk pinch-hitter Jose Rondon with the bases loaded, scoring Anderson from third in the process, and getting the Sox within three runs.
That would be as close as the White Sox would get to tying the game. With the go-ahead run coming to the plate, Rick Renteria called on Adam Engel to pinch-hit for Sánchez. Get the job done with a pinch-hit Engel did not, as he went down swinging on a full-count breaking ball in the dirt, ending the inning, and the Sox hopes.
The Rays would tack on two more runs in the top of the ninth before the White Sox went three-up-three-down to end the game.
It is worth mentioning, that between the onslaught of runs from the Rays during the first four, and last three innings of the game, Sox reliever Manny Banuelos strung together some solid relief work. The lefthander pitched 3 1⁄3 innings, allowing no runs and one hit, with two walks and four Ks.
Up next tomorrow is the series finale against the Rays, with Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 10.00 ERA) squaring off against Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 0.82 ERA). Seems like an evenly-matched pairing, eh? Start time is 1:10 PM CST.