The game started much as many would expect.
Then there was a dropped foul ball, an awkward exchange of glances between Yasmani Grandal and Yoán Moncada (by all accounts, it was Moncada’s ball), and several middle-middle mistakes from Dylan Cease (one of which was tattooed by Jorge Polanco for a solo home run).
Suddenly, the good feelings from the Royals road trip were gone.
It’s a series against the Twins — it’s never smooth sailing, right?
No, but the ship was quickly righted. The Sox came back with a three-run inning of their own in the bottom half of the second, courtesy of Grandal, who destroyed a hanging pitch from Kenta Maeda to tie the game.
Neither Dylan Cease nor Kenta Maeda were at the top of their games — in fact, it didn’t look as though either would make it past the fourth inning. However, what Cease lost in rhythm and mojo slowly but surely recovered, as he struck out the side in the fourth and then battled through the fifth before departing. Maeda was in a similar boat, relying heavily on his split-finger to get the White Sox bats to chase below the strike zone and making his way through his final innings.
Given Minnesota’s dicey bullpen, you could probably see where a battle of the bullpens was going to go.
Yes, like clockwork, Maeda left the game and cleared the way for Jorge Alcala, who immediately walked Moncada on five pitches before giving up a two-run homer to José Abreu to put the game out of reach. The Sox would follow up with four more runs off of Caleb Thielbar before calling it a day.
On the White Sox end, everything looked good as long as your name wasn’t Matt Foster. Unable to dispose of the bottom of the Twins lineup, Tony La Russa mercifully had a quick hook on Foster before bringing in Garrett Crochet, who had his first relief appearance since his injury. Not only did Crochet display a higher velocity (he touched 99 mph), but he got out of the jam with an absolutely gorgeous slider to Luis Arráez.
Aaron Bummer and José Ruiz also contributed scoreless innings of relief, as the White Sox continue to lower their bullpen ERA.
The game may not have started pretty, but the end was a beautiful sight for the White Sox and their fans, as they now have an opportunity to increase pressure on the Twins with another victory (hopefully) tomorrow.
Game time on Wednesday is 7:10 p.m. again, with J.A. Happ pitching for Minnesota and facing off against Dallas Keuchel. Bill Meincke has the recap, Chrystal O’Keefe is on the Six Pack of Stats.
Apologies for the recap delay. This copy was submitted and edited ~11:30 p.m. CT, just as the mothership made the curious decision to undergo scheduled maintenance.