CHICAGO — Well, I just spent eight hours of my Sunday with the sun blazing down on me at Guaranteed Rate Field, how about you?
The Chicago White Sox were able to beat the Seattle Mariners in the finale of their three game set, 7-5, to avoid the sweep and go into the new week with a win. At 45-32, they increased their lead in the American League Central over Cleveland to 2 1⁄2 games.
This game got off to a great start right off the bat, as Ryan Burr pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first.
Now, imagine this. I don’t have to imagine it, because this was actually me, but imagine you just watched the end of a long and brutal first game, it’s 90 degrees, and you’re pretty drained. You walk around the entire upper deck looking for Italian ice to cool you off, and then when they don’t have any you just want to go to sleep.
Well, it looks like the team could tell that the crowd and myself were running a little low on energy, so they decided to light the fuse. Tim Anderson and Brian Goodwin came out swinging, hitting back-to-back singles in the bottom of the first. Yasmani Grandal did his thing at the plate, drawing a walk to make it a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity for Yermín Mercedes. Mercedes then changed the whole atmosphere, ripping a two-run double to left field to make it 2-0. OK, now we’re a little more hyped up.
Burr had another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the second inning. The South Siders attempted to get another rally going off of the Mariners starter Robert Dugger in the bottom of the inning, but no luck there. The top of the third inning made things interesting. Burr had his potential seven inning no-hitter taken from him, as he was replaced by Garrett Crochet. Burr’s final pitching line was two innings, no runs, and no hits.
Crochet started things off with a leadoff walk to Jake Fraley, and then with one out, issued back-to-back walks to Taylor Trammell and J.P. Crawford. This loaded the bases, and Evan Marshall would take over on the mound. Walks are bad but hey, even though the bases were loaded, at least Crochet kept the no-hitter alive, right?
Marshall got the quick strikeout to Mitch Haniger, followed by a walk to Kyle Seager to make it 2-1, and then a pop out from Ty France to end the threat.
At this point, and about six hours into the long day, the fans slowly started to fade. I guess only the strong would survive the rest of the game (not my mother, who kept fading in and out of sleep ... she’s not a big fan, so does she really count, though?)
Luckily, us fans have had plenty of practice during limited-capacity games at sounding like a sold-out crowd, so you couldn’t really tell that people were leaving when it came to the noise level.
Mercedes continued to get on base, this time due to a fielding error by Kyle Seager. Zack Collins then had a clutch double to drive Mercedes in, who honestly looked more like a Ferrari with the motor he displayed to score from first.
Now at 3-1, Dugger’s day would end, replaced by Will Vest, who got the last two outs to end the inning. Codi Heuer replaced Marshall in the top of the fourth inning, as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. The bullpen was looking solid so far, which is always a good sign.
Luis González started off the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff double. Then with two outs, Yoán Moncada got on base with a walk. Rafael Montero came on in relief, and walked Grandal to load the bases. No you’re not having deja vu; that actually happened twice this game.
Mercedes hit an infield single, which really got the crowd pumping even more. A few people around me were mad that he slid headfirst, because we are so paranoid about injuries — but all was well, as he was safe and drove in a run to make it 4-1. With the sacks packed with Sox once again and on a 3-2 count, Collins ripped another double. This time he drove in three runs, even Mercedes who scored from first, again.
Aaron Bummer took over for Heuer in the top of the fifth, pitching another 1-2-3 inning. Jimmy Lambert had a turn on the mound in the top of the sixth, but started off the inning with a double to Haniger and a walk to Seager. With two outs, Dylan Moore singled to score Haniger and make it a 7-1 ballgame. On what should have been another run-scoring single, González had other plans. He fired a bullet to throw out Seager at home after a single by Fraley, which ended the inning.
Lambert returned in the top of the seventh to attempt to close out the game. He struck out Tom Murphy, but then hit Trammell, walked Donovan Walton, and allowed a three-run home run to Haniger, making it 7-5. Shortly after that, he was taken out of the game and optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte after his 27th-man duty.
At that point, everyone was kind of ready to go home, but with the win, of course. My mom, now awoken, started to get bored after Hour 7 in the park, so I really just wanted the White Sox to close this out for her. Tony La Russa probably felt the same, as he put Liam Hendriks in for the save, and his second appearance of the day. Hendriks punched out Shed Long Jr. and got France to line out to Leury García at second to end the seven-inning game.
Not only was this a big game for the team, but also a huge confidence booster for guys like Mercedes, Collins, and González, who all played a big part in the win. The more that these guys are feeling confident within themselves, the more we’ll start to see power and energy come together on offense like it did today, with seven runs.
The White Sox will continue their homestand tomorrow night, as they start a series against the Minnesota Twins. It should be a great matchup, as Kenta Maeda and Lucas Giolito go head-to-head at 7:10 p.m. CT. Super Joe Resis draws double-duty on the recap and Six Pack.
Everyone get some rest, and get ready for another great matchup!