Both offenses got off to a slow start, but the White Sox broke through with a big sixth inning, and that was enough to secure the victory on Monday night.
The first major scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the second. Yermín Mercedes singled, and Andrew Vaughn hit a two-out double down the left-field line to put two runners in scoring position. However, Cardinals starter Kwang Hyun Kim got Leury García to ground out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, White Sox starter Lance Lynn was very difficult to solve. The Cardinals struggled to put runners on base, as Lynn had a no-hitter through five innings. During those first five innings, only two Cardinals reached base, and both of them did so by drawing a walk.
The Cardinals got on the board in the sixth inning, however. Tommy Edman, who is in the 91th percentile in terms of sprint speed per Baseball Savant, drew a leadoff walk. Edman promptly stole second base, and he advanced to third on a deep fly out to left. Then, with the no-hitter still intact, Paul Goldschmidt hit a sharp grounder to shortstop. Tim Anderson got a glove on it, but it got through to the outfield, and Edman scored the game’s first run. The official scorer ruled Goldschmidt’s grounder a hit, which was an unexpected decision given that it hit Anderson’s glove, and it broke up the no-hitter. The good news, however, is that Lynn escaped the inning without allowing any more runs. (Also, Yadier Molina singled shortly after, so the scoring decision did not loom large.)
The good news continued for the White Sox in the bottom half, as the Cardinals lead was as short-lived as possible. After a one-out single by Mercedes, Yasmani Grandal struck out looking on a close pitch. Then, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt visited the mound, and it appeared he was considering removing Kim. However, fortunately, Kim remained in the game to face Andrew Vaughn.
Vaughn’s fourth career homer turned the game around and gave the White Sox a 2-1 lead. It also spoiled an otherwise brilliant performance by Kim, whose breaking balls were excellent throughout the game.
The White Sox were not done with their sixth-inning rally, either. García drew a walk, and that prompted a pitching change, as Daniel Ponce de Leon took over for Kim. Then, Nick Madrigal was hit by a pitch, and suddenly, Anderson had an RBI opportunity. Anderson took advantage of a fastball down the middle from Ponce de Leon, as he lined a double down the right-field line. Though Anderson was thrown out trying to stretch his double into a triple, García and Madrigal scored, and the White Sox had a 4-1 lead.
Lynn got back on track and pitched a scoreless seventh, which turned out to be his last inning on the mound. His final line was quite strong: seven innings, one run, three hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. Lynn’s ERA remains outstanding, lowering slightly, from 1.55 to 1.51.
The White Sox added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. That inning got started with a leadoff walk drawn by Adam Eaton. After an error on a pickoff attempt and a wild pitch, Eaton found himself at third base. Then, a sacrifice fly by Mercedes made it a 5-1 ballgame.
The bullpen took care of the rest, as the eighth and ninth innings were fairly free of drama. Molina led off the ninth with a single, but Michael Kopech got back-to-back strikeouts and a soft ground out to seal it.
The White Sox improved to 27-19, while the Cardinals fell to 26-21. Join us tomorrow on South Side Sox, as Tommy Barbee will have your game coverage, while Ashley Sanders will provide Six Pack of Stats. Tomorrow’s game will also start at 7:10 p.m. CST. Let’s hope it goes as well as tonight.