There was plenty of rain at GRF this afternoon, but not enough to turn the same favor as yesterday. The Toronto Blue Jays got five runs, all on homers, to even up the series 2-2 and send the Chicago White Sox to Houston on a downer. Or a drowner.
Sox starter Reynaldo López rolled through the first two innings on 20 pitches. Plenty of velocity — at one point he hit 98 mph — but wild in the zone. In the top of the third that wildness caught up with him, as Jays left fielder Billy McKinney swatted a roller 370 feet to left to give the Jays a 1-0 lead. López got out of the 20-pitch inning with no more damage thanks to an Eric Sogard DP to first, one of only two grounders López threw all day.
In the fourth, it was McKinney who saved López. After a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single and two walks, McKinney refused to take an RBI walk, swinging at three high pitches and eventually striking out, ending a 38-pitch inning.
The Sox, meanwhile, were hitless for three against Jays rookie Trent Thornton. Yoán Moncada ended the no-no with a triple down the right field line, then José Abreu tied the game with a grounder to third when Guerrero inexplicably turned down what looked like an easy out at home.
López continued to be rocky, but showed his mental tenacity to get through six innings with the score tied 1-1, his final line as six innings, four hits, one earned, two walks and one strikeout, with 64 strikes in 99 pitches. As the one K hints, he got only six swinging strikes.
That left it up to the pen. Evan Marshall stayed hot, cruising through the seventh on 10 pitches, but in the eighth Kelvin Herrera stayed cold, giving up Jonathan Davis’ first hit of the year and letting Guerrero off the hook for his judgment error by serving up a 395-foot, 101.5-mph two-run blast to left.
The Sox got a shot at evening things up in the bottom half, when Charlie Tilson worked a nine-pitch walk and Leury García singled. Moncada hit into a DP, but Abreu smashed a 113 mph shot to left that McKinney couldn’t handle, for an RBI double. The threat ended with a Yonder Alonzo K.
Jace Fry came in for the ninth, giving up a single to McKinney on what should have been Tim Anderson’s 10th error of the season — apparently the official scorer likes Timmy more than Jace — and then a 413-foot blast to .186 hitter Danny Jansen. Ken Giles completed a four-out save by blowing through the ninth allowing just a dribbler single by Anderson.
Anderson must have had his pockets filled with rabbits’ feet. He had what had to be one of the luckiest three-hit days ever, two dribblers and a misplayed pop-up. Plus that nice scorer’s ruling.
Luck wasn’t with Nicky Delmonico, though, unless you count accumulation of frequent flier miles. After going 0-for-4, his average dropped to .206 and punched his ticket to Charlotte. No word on his replacement, but one can hope Eloy Jiménez will join the team in Houston.
A four-game series against the red-hot Astros, whose 10-game winning streak ended this afternoon with a 4-3 loss in Boston, begins at 7:10 pm Central tomorrow.