As we close out spring training, the White Sox put on another late-inning surge against the Arizona Diamondbacks to secure a 7-4 win and move their spring training record above .500 for the first time, at 12-11.
The game was slow and steady for the South Siders, in what looked like it would be a low scoring game, but a six-run eighth changed the dynamic and helped them steal a win from the D-backs.
Dallas Keuchel had a solid outing, although he looked a little shaky at first. Keuchel allowed a leadoff double to Tim Locastro in the top of the first, with Locastro later scoring on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0. Nothing much happened for the White Sox in the bottom half of the inning, but José Abreu had a little tear jerker for the fans. Pito wore some signature red Eloy Jiménez batting gloves in his back pocket to honor him, as he slammed a single into right field directly after.
A true leader. Pito is showing his support for Eloy Jiménez. pic.twitter.com/79HPu3IakX— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 28, 2021
Keuchel allowed a leadoff single in the second from Stephen Vogt, and after advancing to second on a ground ball, Vogt ended up scoring on a single from Pavin Smith to make it 2-0. Keuchel got out of the inning without any more damage, and then proceeded to throw a 1-2-3 inning in the third.
Meanwhile, Merrill Kelly allowed his first White Sox run after allowing a walk to Yermín Mercedes and a single by Tim Anderson. Abreu secured the RBI ground out to score Mercedes from third to make it 2-1
That would be the only run the White Sox would score for a while.
Keuchel went on to pitch scoreless fourth and fifth innings, and was pulled after that. Overall, the southpaw allowed two runs on five hits, and recorded four strikeouts as well. This outing lands him at a 5.56 ERA and 1.15 WHIP to close out spring training. Kelly pitched a solid five innings for the D-backs and allowed one run on four hits, chiseling his ERA down to 5.30 and his WHIP down to 1.50.
Michael Kopech came in for Keuchel at the top of the sixth, and struggled slightly. Kopech allowed a leadoff walk to Cabrera and a single by Vogt, which lead to a two-run triple by Josh Rojas to extend the D-backs lead to 4-1. Garrett Crochet came in to relieve Kopech in the seventh inning, and allowed a leadoff walk as well, but got Locastro to line into a double play. He fanned the next batter in three pitches to get out of the inning scoreless, and it was a nasty last pitch.
Andrew Vaughn and Nick Madrigal both reached base in the bottom half of the seventh, but were unable to score.
Codi Heuer continues to shine this spring, as he pitched in the top of the eighth inning. Although he allowed a single to Josh Vanmeter to lead off the inning, he then got Alek Thomas to ground into a double play shortly after. He also faced former White Sox outfielder Trayce Thompson and got the ground out.
Remember last Sunday, when the White Sox had a late-inning rally against the D-backs to get back into the game? Well it happened again, except this time in an even bigger way.
The D-backs inserted pitcher Stefan Crichton to start the inning, and the White Sox immediately jumped on him to get some momentum going. Danny Mendick walked, followed by a Zach Remillard single. Matt Reynolds, who has been clutch in many late innings this spring, smacked a two-run double into right field to cut the D-backs lead to 4-3. Zack Collins reached base on a fielding error at second base, and Vaughn walked to load the bases.
Crichton stayed in the game after a mound visit, which turned out to be a bad decision with Luis Robert coming up to the plate. Although we would have loved to see a mammoth grand slam or exciting base hit from Robert, he did have an RBI walk that is going to have to be good enough — plus it’s always nice to see him laying off pitches instead of swinging away out of the zone. That Robert walk tied the game at 4-4, with still no outs and the bases loaded yet again. That would be it for Crichton, as J.B. Bukauskas came in to try and end the inning without any more damage.
That didn’t work too well for the D-backs either, as Marco Hernandez hit a line-drive single to center field to score Collins and give the White Sox a 5-4 lead. Nick Williams followed suit, with his line-drive single to center making it 6-4. Bukauskas threw a wild pitch with Robert on third, which resulted on a close play at the plate, but Robert’s speed got him home safely to extend the lead to 7-4.
Yeah, I made you read all of that, but in case you skimmed on a lazy Sunday, here are the highlights of that eighth inning scoring surge.
A 6-run 8th inning? Yeah, that will get the job done. pic.twitter.com/cWAH4wMm3I— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 28, 2021
Liam Hendriks seems like he is finally free of his kidney stones (not a normal injury, but then, he’s not exactly a normal guy), closing out the win in the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning to secure the save.
The South Siders will have an off-day tomorrow, but will close out spring training on Tuesday with one final game against the Rockies, in Scottsdale. Dylan Cease will be on the mound, and then before you know it, it will be time to head on over to Anaheim to face the Angels for Opening Day!
See you all next week, when I host you for a regular season edition of Sunday Night Baseball!
Who was the White Sox MVP of Sunday’s 7-4 comeback win over the Diamondbacks?
This poll is closed
Matt Reynolds: 1-for-1, R, 2B, 2 RBI
Marco Hernandez: 1-for-1, GWRBI
Andrew Vaughn: 1-for-3, R, BB, K, played LF
Tim Anderson: 2-for-3, K, LOB, SB
Nick Madrigal: 2-for-3
Who was the White Sox Game Goat of Sunday’s 7-4 comeback win over the Diamondbacks?
This poll is closed
Yoán Moncada: 0-for-3, 3 K, 3 LOB
Yermín Mercedes: 0-for-3, R, BB, K, 6 LOB
Michael Kopech: IP, 2 H, 2 ER, BB, K
Zack Collins: 0-for-4, R, 3 LOB
Adam Eaton: 0-for-3, K, 4 LOB