A stirring rally late, punctuated by a pair of two-run homers from José Abreu and Tim Anderson, drew the Chicago close on Wednesday. But despite having the tying run on second and the sacks packed in the ninth, the White Sox fell short, 8-6.
Down 8-4, Danny Mendick struck out to start the ninth, but a Leury García single and Anderson blast trimmed that lead to 8-6. And the White Sox didn’t stop there, packing the sacks on an Abreu single, Yoán Moncada walk and James McCann single. Eloy Jiménez, red-hot and definitely the man you wanted up there where a single would tie, chased two high pitches out of the zone to fall behind. But Eloy battled, laying off of pitches down and away, and eventually catching up with the high, out-of-zone fastballs,
When Cleveland reliever Nick Wittgren served up a low strike on pitch No. 8 of the sequence, Jiménez crushed it.
Abreu’s brain cramp kept him at third base on an obvious tag up, but really, what and extraordinary catch by center fielder Oscar Mercado. By any account, that ball should have pinballed to the wall to clear the bases.
Ryan Goins pinch-hit for Adam Engel with two down and the bases full, battling though a seven-pitch at-bat, but struck out swinging to end the game.
None of the nail-biting would have been necessary had Iván Nova Mach September been pitching like Nova of August. He couldn’t finish five (4 1⁄3 IP), surrendering 11 hits and six earned. He threw just two walks, but only 41-of-73 pitches for strikes, and when Nova’s control is off, balls start to fly.
The White Sox offense did what it could to rally, but a relative lack of extra-base hits (just Jiménez and Anderson doubles in addition to the two homers) couldn’t augment 13 overall hits in the game. Anderson had three total, pushing his average to .331, while García, Abreu, Jiménez and Moncada all collected two. The top six of the order went 12-of-27 tonight.
Quick turnaround after this heartbreaker, as Reynaldo López takes the bump for the 12:10 p.m. CT getaway game to end the series tomorrow.