It sure looked like another fall-from-ahead loss for the White Sox this afternoon, after they blew a lead in the bottom of the eighth and trailed Boston 7-6, but José Abreu was apparently tired of that script.
Leury García led off the the ninth with a single, his third hit of the day, but got thrown out at second on an attempted steal. That may have been intended as a hit-and-run, but Yolmer Sánchez had no chance on an eye-high pitch. Yolmer made up for it, though, with a single of his own, bringing up Abreu. José battled for 10 pitches, finally getting a high, inside fastball that he sent 401 feet at 104.7mph.
Alex Colomé, who had given up the two-run single to Xavier Bogaerts in the bottom of the eighth that put the Bosox up by a run, provided Jackie Bradley Jr., with the dreaded leadoff walk in the bottom half, but then got three straight outs to record the win after blowing the save.
Pretty nice win, especially given the fact that half the team was on sick call by the end of the game.
It hadn’t been a stellar day for White Sox pitching. Reynaldo López did technically get a quality start, with three earned in six innings, but, with nine hits and just three Ks, it was the kind of outing that gives quality starts a bad name. Aaron Bummer followed with a three-hit, one-run inning, the fourth time in his last seven appearances he’s given up a run, a sad trend after his amazing start.
Jace Fry got the only batter he faced, but Evan Marshall became the second of our formerly outstanding relievers to get shellacked, giving up two runs on two hits while getting no outs, though in fairness one of the hits was a routine fly to right by pinch-hitter Brock Holt that Jon Jay (in the field after starting as DH because Charlie Tilson joined the sick list with a flu attack) lost in the sun. That brought in Colomé for a rocky eighth.
Fortunately, the offense was able to cover for the pitching, knocking around Chris Sale like he’d just taken advice from Drake LaRoche. They got three runs in the top of the first on a García single, Yoán Moncada HBP, Abreu RBI double, and RBI singles by James McCann and Jay.
It was a costly onslaught, though, because Moncada got hit right on the knee, suffering a bruise that has him day-to-day.
Moncada tried to stay in the game, but had to leave after being hit over to third. With Tim Anderson already on the IL from last night’s high ankle sprain, the infield situation was sufficiently dire that Sánchez, suffering from a high fever, had to come in to play second, José Rondón moving to third.
López immediately gave back two in the bottom of the first, and it was beginning to look like deja vu all over again, as the baseball bard would say. He even almost matched Sale’s 34-pitch count inning, with 28 of his own.
Both pitchers cruised through the second, but McCann demonstrated his All-Star qualifications with a 399-foot blast to lead off the third. Jay got hit by a pitch, was sacrificed to second, then showed terrific heads-up baserunning on a Ryan Cordell infield single.
That put the right Sox up, 5-2, but López gave the run back in the bottom of the second with a defensive brain fart that really ought to get him grounded for a week.
Both pitchers then settled down. In all, Sale gave up five runs in six innings while striking out 10 and walking one. Overall, the Chisox whiffed 14 times and only walked once, making it six walks and 39 Ks for the series — which should absolutely humiliate them, but apparently doesn’t.
The Good Guys stretched the lead to 6-3 in the seventh on a García single, Sánchez sacrifice, and Abreu RBI single, but that’s when the Bummer-Marshall-Colomé failures began, leading to a 7-6 Red Sox lead. In the meantime, both teams ended up losing the DH, a heck of a rarity, though the Red Sox move was to change catchers, not due to illness.
It looked desperate, but then came Abreu.
As the bard not named Yogi put it, all’s well that ends well.
The White Sox are off tomorrow, then come home for a three-game series with the Twinkies, as the stretch against better-than-.500 teams continues. So far it’s been 5-7, so not too shabby.