Carrasco vs. Bañuelos, for the third time, with the Indians romping in the first two? Bound to be a laugher. After all, Carlos Carrasco has completely owned the Sox for a long, long time and Manny Bañuelos has pretty much served up batting practice to Cleveland so far this year.
And, laugher it was. Only the Chicago White Sox got to do the chortling.
Carrasco didn’t have it tonight. Sliders just played dreidel and sat there spinning, fastballs got too much of the plate. His problems started in the second, when Yonder Alonso, .172 average and all, led off with a double over first. James McCann singled, then Eloy Jiménez lashed a two-run double to left, the first of his three hits on the night.
The surprise lead — surprise because the Sox hadn’t come close to scoring off to Carrasco in two earlier games this year — didn’t last long, as Carlos Santana lashed a two-run single in the top of the third after Bañuelos temporarily lost his control and loaded the bases.
No problem. Alonso, who has owned Carrasco through his career, went 396 feet deep with Yoán Moncada on base in the bottom half of the third.
Well, well, well. How the turntables. pic.twitter.com/EtrTJTXloO— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 31, 2019
It wasn’t just offense doing it for the Sox. The hardest hit ball of the game, by far, was a 110 mph shot by Francisco Lindor in the fifth, but he hit it to the wrong guy.
The Sox also had fine plays by Ryan Cordell and Yolmer Sánchez in the ninth, though the great defensive night was marred when Anderson threw away a routine peg on a grounder that inning. Baseball can be a tad strange.
The Sox upped the lead to 5-2 in the top of the fifth on good baseball — Leury García doubled (one of his three hits), Moncada moved him to third with a grounder to second, and José Abreu hit a sac fly.
Jordan Luplow, who has a history of torching Bañuelos, cut the lead to 5-3 with a 396-footer in the top of the sixth. Bañuelos stayed in for two more batters and a pitch, exiting with a line of 5 1⁄3 innings, five hits, three earned, three walks and three strikeouts, just another indication of the power of the rule of threes. In came Evan Marshall, who extended his scoreless season with a perfect 1 2⁄3 innings.
Carrasco lasted 6 1⁄3 innings, giving up six earned on 10 hits, and reliever Dan Otero fared no better. Coming in with García on first and one out, he immediately served up a two-run shot to Abreu, which had just enough oomph.
The Sox weren’t done. Singles by Jiménez and Sánchez, a helpful error, a wild pitch, a García single and a Moncada double took the game into laugher range at 10-3 in the eighth. In between, Lindor returned a favor by robbing Anderson of a hit on a brilliant stop behind second.
The laughter got a little wheezy in the ninth. Aaron Bummer had relieved Marshall and coasted through the seventh and eighth, but the story was different for Jace Fry. Despite the great plays by Cordell and Sánchez, a double, a walk, Anderson’s error and another walk led to a run and left the bases loaded for emergency help from José Ruiz, who struck out Oscar Mercado to let the guffaws resume.
The Sox could pull even with Cleveland for second place in the AL Central with a win tomorrow night. On paper, it looks like another grim pitching matchup, with Dylan Covey facing Trevor Bauer.
But, hey, that’s why they play the game — you never know who’ll have the last laugh.