You thought the Field of Dreams game wasn’t sufficiently exciting, didn’t have enough twists and turns? OK, said the White Sox and Yankees, we’ll give it another try, only this time we won’t settle for just nine innings worth of tension.
In the end it came down to the White Sox having the bases loaded and two outs, down two, bottom of the 10th, and Tim Anderson — who else could it possibly be? — at the plate. Alas, this time, after Aaron Boone tried to once again give the game back to the White Sox by putting one-time All-Star but this year injury- and competence-challenged Zack Britton on the mound in the 10th, he pulled Britton after two four-pitch walks and a single put the winning runs on base. That left Anderson facing Abreu — Albert, not José — and Tim grounded to third to end the game. Can’t be a hero every night.
The hero this time was the good-guy Abreu, already with three hits on the night, came up with the Sox down 4-3, two outs, bottom of the ninth, facing Chad Green, who had pitched well to that point. Abreu worked a 3-2 count, fouled off a couple of fastballs, and got a hanging curve.
That tied the game, 4-4, and brought Liam Hendriks out for the 10th, when he did what he had done Thursday — basically pitched batting practice. A wild pitch to send guy-on-second Brett Gardner to third, an Aaron Judge single, a two-run 424-foot homer by Joey Gallo, and it was time to replace Hendriks with José Ruíz and hope Boone would be dumb enough to bring in Britton.
Damned near worked.
Now, about the first four hours and change of the game, leading up to all of that. It was kind of a battle of religious advice:
Pitch to Judge not, less ye be Judged;
and if you throw to Abreu, you better pray, you.
Neither starting pitcher fared well, with Dylan Cease giving up just four hits, but three earned runs in five innings, and needing 103 pitches to get that far. He fell behind two-zip in the first on a D.J. LeMahieu double, Judge sac fly and Gallo’s first home of the night, then after the game was tied, gave up a triple to Brett Gardner and RBI double to Judge, who ended up driving in four runs — so a slow night after Thursday’s barrage.
That was all the Yankee scoring until Judge put them up in the eighth with a 114.2-mph, 421-foot shot off of Craig Kimbrel, who apparently didn’t want to show up Hendriks regarding that closer thing. All the White Sox relievers who aren’t considered closers did well, even Matt Foster, of all people — but it didn’t matter.
Meanwhile, the White Sox office were pounding out 13 hits, including a 438-foot blast to center by Luis Robert off of Yankee starter Jameson Taillon, which had tied the game at two in the second.
The White Sox tied it again, at three, in the third, on a César Hernández infield single, Abreu double, and Eloy Jiménez sac fly that almost made it to the seats.
It was in the fifth through seventh the Sox squandered the game and necessitated last-minute heroics: Two on, one out in the fifth and Abreu hit into a double play; bases loaded, one out in the sixth and pinch-hitting Andrew Vaughn tapped into a force at home and Zack Collins flied out, though he gave it a 381-foot ride; and Yoán Moncada grounded out after José and Eloy singled with two out in the seventh.
So, on to necessary heroics — just not enough of them this time.
Arguably, when you go 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position in regulation, against a seriously injury-depleted bullpen at that, you don’t deserve to win. But it sure would have been nice.
Rubber match of the series tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. Central, with Lucas Giolito matching up against Nestor Cortes.