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White Sox 2, Rangers 1: Nicky Two-Strikes Walks it Off

Dallas Keuchel turned in a brilliant pitching performance, and the defense was on point

MLB: Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox
Gather Around the Campfire: Nick Madrigal is on fire with two strikes.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

What an absolute pitcher’s duel in which the Chicago White Sox won over the Texas Rangers via a beautiful walk-off!

Dallas Keuchel was 2020-like, i.e. brilliant. He went six-plus innings, in which he gave up seven hits and struck out two (no walks!), and never gave up a run.

Kyle Gibson matched Keuchel well. He went six innings, giving up one run off of six hits and two walks. He did strike out five.

With that pitching brilliance, it took until the sixth inning to see any run-scoring offense — and that phrase is a stretch. Tim Anderson led the bottom of the inning off with a single, but he would eventually be thrown out at second attempting to steal. However, Yoán Moncada and José Abreu both singled, and Luis Robert followed with one of the most impressive at-bats I have seen from him thus far.

After not reading Gibson at all in his first two ABs, Robert swung foolishly at sliders well out of the zone. He proceeded to take a few more sliders out of the zone and a curve to work a 3-2 count from 0-2. What came next? Laying off of a fastball out of the zone to load the bases with two outs for Yasmani Grandal.

Very quickly into Yaz’s AB, a wild pitch skidded away, and YoYo found home plate to break the 0-0 tie! We take those!

The Rangers attempted to tie the game in the top of the seventh. Willie Calhoun singled to lead off the inning which drove Keuchel from the game. After the Rangers recorded two outs, Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled him to second base. Next AB? Naperville North alum, Nick Solak, singled to left field.

But rather than it being a game-tying hit, defensive replacement Billy Hamilton launched an incredible throw to Yasmani Grandal, who caught the ball and then dove at Calhoun: Billy-Yasmani 1, Calhoun 0.

In the bottom of the ninth, Liam Hendriks came in after a long outing on Friday, trying to lock down back-to-back saves. Hendriks overmatched Jose Trevino for a strikeout. However, on a pitch well above the zone, Willie Calhoun sought vengeance (shoutout Billy Hamilton once again!) and swung for the fences, Thanks to the MLB app, I knew it was a homer before he even swung.

Hendriks blew his second save of the season, but he did escape the top of the ninth with no further damage.

Luis Robert led off by rifling a ball past Brock Holt’s glove to begin the bottom of the ninth. Grandal bunted him over, but just as White Sox fans prepared to see Yermín Mercedes walk it off, the Rangers spoiled that concept and awarded Mercedes with the first intentional walk of his career! Mike Trout, who!? Hamilton struck out following, but he had already done what he needed to do back in the seventh.

That paved way to Nick Madrigal, aka Nicky, aka Nicky two-strikes. Nick two-strikes sent a line drive to right field, where the Gold Glove Joey Gallo was playing a bit too shallow. Over his head the ball went for a game-winning, RBI-double!

The South Siders improve to 11-9 and win a ballgame that will most likely repeat itself in a possible playoff matchup (not against the Rangers, though).

Michael Kopech (1-0, 1.69 ERA) takes the mound for tomorrow’s game against Kohei Arihara (2-1, 2.21 ERA), as the White Sox look to secure their first sweep of the season!

The game starts at 1:10 p.m CT on NBC Sports Chicago. Hannah LaMotta has your game coverage, and Chrystal O’Keefe is back with the Six Pack.