The White Sox (72-54) entered today having lost three of their last four games. Things appeared to be turning around due to Lance Lynn’s outstanding effort. However, despite his great performance, the Blue Jays (65-58) battled back to take the first game of this four-game series in Toronto.
Both offenses took a long time before they managed any kind of significant traffic on the basepaths. Through five innings, nobody crossed home plate, as starters Lance Lynn and Alek Manoah were outstanding. The best opportunity to score during the first five innings was when the White Sox put runners on first and second with one out in the fourth. However, a fly out by Andrew Vaughn and a line out by Danny Mendick ended that threat.
The South Siders finally got on the board in the sixth inning to break the ice. With one out, Yoán Moncada, Brian Goodwin, and Andrew Vaughn hit three consecutive singles. Vaughn’s single allowed Moncada to score, and it was 1-0, Good Guys. This broke a streak of 15 consecutive innings without a run, as the offense has looked much different without All-Star shortstop and TWTW King Tim Anderson.
Unfortunately, the lead did not last long, as the Blue Jays rallied in the bottom of the sixth. That half of the inning got off to an ominous start, when Reese McGuire led off with a double. Things took a turn for the better when Bo Bichette hit a grounder to second; César Hernández fielded it cleanly and made a quick throw to third base. McGuire hesitated just a tad before breaking for third, and that slight bit of hesitation may have cost him. The throw by Hernández was quick enough to nail McGuire for the first out of the inning. Former White Sox Marcus Semien followed with a soft ground out that allowed Bichette to advance to second. Then, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. did Vladimir Guerrero Jr. things and put Toronto on the board with an RBI single.
From that point forward, the White Sox offense went completely cold, but fortunately, Lynn kept Toronto off the board in the seventh to preserve the tie. The score remained tied at one until the bottom of the eighth, when Craig Kimbrel took over on the mound. McGuire singled to lead off the inning, and Breyvic Valera entered the game as a pinch-runner.
What followed was a rather bizarre sequence in a matchup between Kimbrel and Bichette. On a 1-2 pitch, Kimbrel struck out Bichette, but the ball got behind catcher Seby Zavala. Zavala managed to get to it in time to throw Bichette out at first, while Valera advanced to second. But, though Bichette appeared to whiff on it, the umpire ruled it a foul ball, so Bichette got another attempt. On the very next pitch, the same thing happened. Bichette struck out (this time, it was ruled to be a swing-and-a-miss), Zavala failed to block it, but he threw Bichette out at first (again). However, Valera made it into scoring position for the second time.
With one out, Semien made another “productive out” with a grounder (sound familiar?), so Valera advanced to third. After Kimbrel issued an intentional walk to Guerrero Jr., the Blue Jays had runners on the corners with two outs. Then, on an 0-2 pitch to Teóscar Hernández, Kimbrel threw a fastball that missed the plate by plenty. Once again, Zavala could not get in front of it, and Valera advanced a base. This time, Valera advanced to home plate, so the Blue Jays had a 2-1 lead.
The White Sox went down quietly in the ninth against closer Jordan Romano, so they took the loss on Monday night. They will have another chance tomorrow evening, as the first pitch is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. Central on Tuesday. Dylan Cease and José Berríos are the probable starting pitchers. As usual, NBC Sports Chicago will televise it, and WMVP 1000 AM will have the radio coverage.