Zack magic did wonders tonight for the White Sox, as newest Chicago catcher Collins clocked a three-run shot early, and a strong bullpen outing and clutch Yolmer Sánchez bunt late paced a 5-4 at the Texas Rangers.
The game got off to a rough start, as the first inning did not go as planned. In the top of the first, Rangers starter Ariel Jurado retired the White Sox in order. In the bottom half, Nomar Mazara launched a mammoth home run off Reynaldo López. According to MLB’s Mike Petriello, Mazara’s blast traveled 505 feet — the longest home run of the season, by 19 feet. My goodness, what a blast. This home run gave Texas an early 2-0 lead
However, that early Rangers lead was short-lived. With two outs and nobody on base in the second, the White Sox put together a rally. Tim Anderson singled up the middle, and Sánchez was hit by a pitch. With two outs and two on base, it was rookie Collins’ turn. Collins, making his second career plate appearance, worked the count to 2-2. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Jurado threw a slider that caught too much of the plate, and the rest is history.
Collins’ home run traveled a whopping 447 feet. Not quite as long as Mazara’s insane blast, but that is still a long one. Congratulations to Collins on his first major league home run, and the solid start to his major league career. His blast was a three-run shot, and it put the White Sox in front, 3-2.
In the bottom of the second, the Rangers sent another one over the fence on a blast to right by Rougned Odor. Though Odor’s bomb “only” went 386 feet, it was enough to tie the game 3-3.
In the third, the White Sox put together another small rally to retake the lead. With two on and one out, Eloy Jiménez snuck a ground ball through the left side of the Rangers infield. That hit scored Yoán Moncada, who raced home from second to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead.
Meanwhile, after those two early home runs, López settled down and made a strong recovery. After the rough first two innings, López only surrendered three hits and did not allow any runs. His final line: 5 1⁄3 innings, three runs (all earned), six hits, a walk, and four strikeouts. López threw 100 pitches, and 65 of them were strikes. Considering how poorly this game started for him, that was a decent performance. His ERA dropped slightly to 6.23, his FIP now stands at 5.89, and his xFIP is 5.63.
López was also the beneficiary of some more solid relief by Aaron Bummer. López departed with a runner on first and one out in the sixth. Bummer promptly struck out the first two batters he faced to end the inning and strand the runner that López was responsible for.
The White Sox had a chance to add some insurance runs in the seventh, after Moncada hit a ground-rule double to put runners on second and third with two outs. José Abreu came up to bat in a high-leverage situation and hit a line drive to center. But, the liner was hit too close to Rangers center fielder Danny Santana, so the White Sox came up empty-handed.
In the bottom half, the Rangers finally pushed another run across. After a dreaded leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt, the Rangers had a runner on second with one out. Then, Shin-Soo Choo hit a sharp liner back at the mound, which Bummer knocked down, and he threw to first for the out. Bummer was able to stay in the game despite getting hit by the line drive, but he allowed a two-out single to Danny Santana to tie the game at four.
In the top of the ninth, Ryan Cordell hit a sharp fly ball that hit the top of the left field wall, barely missing a go-ahead home run. Cordell settled for a one-out double. Charlie Tilson followed with an infield single, though Cordell could not advance, as the ball was hit in front of him. Though the White Sox had two on with one out, they could not push any runs across due to a Moncada strikeout (one with a strike call so bad it caused fans to have flashbacks to Cory Blaser) and an Abreu flyout.
Jace Fry was terrific tonight. He pitched 1 2⁄3 innings, and he struck out four while only allowing one baserunner (a single by Mazara). Fry also picked off Mazara to wipe out the only baserunner he allowed. He was a big reason why this game went into extras.
In the 10th inning, Jiménez and Anderson hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out. Sánchez pushed across the go-ahead run with a beautiful safety squeeze bunt, as Jiménez raced home to score rather easily.
Alex Colomé came on to close the game out. He allowed a dreaded leadoff walk to Choo, but that was as good as the Rangers situation would get. Colomé induced a fly out to center and a double play ground ball to slam the door shut.
The White Sox improved to 36-37, while the Rangers fell to 40-36. The White Sox are back at it tomorrow at 8:05 CST for another game against the Rangers. Tonight’s #SoxMath winner, Ashley Sanders, will juggle her attempt to defend her crown tomorrow night with game coverage for SSS. Once again, that game will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago, and it will be audible on WGN 720. For some reason, 32-year old AAAA player Odrisamer Despaigne is the White Sox’s probable starter. Let’s hope for the best.