OK, OK, mea culpa. Never should have besmirched the abilities of a rookie 27th-man call-up with one major league start and an 8.66 ERA facing an All-Star with a 1.99 ERA. But, admit it, you didn’t think it would be a tight game, either, did you?
Naytheless, Griffin Jax, who had given up 22 hits and 17 runs in his 17 2⁄3 innings in the major leagues, plowed through the White Sox like he’d never heard they were a mighty hitting squad — and did it despite a blister breaking out on the finger he controls his slider with. The blister caused Jax to leave after four innings and one lone hit, a Tim Anderson opposite field homer (oppo boppo, or shortened to opp-bop for those needing a rhyme for it) in the third that was Tim’s third four-bagger in the last three games and extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
Meanwhile the All-Star, Lance Lynn, was doing his part, with big help from some big D. Bryan Goodwin saved an immediate run and a possible big inning with a long run to nab a Josh Donaldson slice to the deep right-field corner with one on and no outs in the first, then in the third, with two on and two out, Anderson made like a wide receiver splitting the cornerbacks for six.
Which brings us to the top of the sixth, up 1-0, two down, Lynn cruising, but facing Sox-slayer Nelson Cruz. Did our HOFBP hold up four fingers to walk the guy who hits us like a future HOFBP? He did not. Line shot to the bullpen, 1-1. Maybe there’s an unwritten rule you don’t intentionally walk a 41-year-old guy.
It stayed tied through seven, so we got to have both a seven-inning doubleheader and an extra inning that starts with a runner on second on the same day! Hallelujah!
Top of the eighth, Garrett Crochet in, Luis Arráez smashed a single to right, so hard the run couldn’t score. Donaldson topped one to third, where Jake Burger couldn’t make up his mind what to do until too late, loading the bases. Rocco Baldelli, not wanting to leave our HOFBP as the only manager to screw up, left in Trevor Larnach, who has a mighty .536 OPS against lefties — and who, naturally, struck out. That brought up Cruz against Ryan Burr, but with no place to put him. Cruz hit a sac fly, Jorge Polanco followed with an RBI single, and it was 3-1.
In the home half, José Abreu hit a ground-rule double to plate Anderson, who was the runner on second guy because he had popped up to end the seventh, but that was all the White Sox could muster, so a 3-2 loss.
Since the first game went completely against expectations, it’ll only be fair for the Sox to take the nightcap, which has Twins ace José Berríos taking on the White Sox TBD, which turned out to be Reynaldo López, who somehow just keeps getting back on the major league roster. (See, I insulted ReyLo simply so I could be proven wrong about a starting pitcher again tonight.)