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White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: South Siders Support Dylan Cease With 18 Hits

The starter was phenomenal — while the bullpen again held on for dear life

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu reacts as he crosses home plate on his three-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Rogers Centre.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

No Tim Anderson, no problem. At least that was the case on Tuesday.

The White Sox’s offense woke up from a two-day slump, while Dylan Cease had one of his best starts with the South Siders. It was a stressful, 5-2 win that snapped a three-game losing streak, despite the White Sox’s 18 hits doubling the Blue Jays total. This season, Chicago has held the Blue Jays to two or fewer runs in four of five games.

Even without their spark plug leader at the top of the order, the White Sox offense found more success from the opening pitch. It helped that Tony La Russa moved Luis Robert to leadoff in the lineup.

Robert drove José Berríos’ first pitch — a high fastball — to center field, but as the 110.7 mph liner reached the wall, Robert missed first base and had to settle for a single. Then, Yoán Moncada hit a dribbler down the third-base line for a single. On Berríos’ fifth pitch of the game, José Abreu widened his RBI lead over Vladimir Guerrero Jr. by taking a curve ball down the middle of the plate to left-center field for a 411-foot home run.

In five pitches, the White Sox led, 3-0.

Brian Goodwin and Jake Lamb each singled in the first inning, as well. Danny Mendick made it 4-0 with a two-out, RBI double off of the end of his bat to ensure the South Siders hit around in Berríos’ 33-pitch first inning.

The frustration boiled into Berríos angrily slapping his glove, and Toronto pitching coach Pete Walker being ejected for arguing the strike zone, despite the six-hit inning being due to Berríos leaving pitches over the zone rather than a poorly-called game.

It didn’t stop the White Sox from recording a hit in every inning and finishing with 15 hard-hit balls, but they couldn’t put another crooked number on the board.

Robert and Moncada recorded back-to-back hits to lead off the fourth inning, which led to Abreu’s RBI ground out. Robert, Moncada and Abreu each had three hits, but it was the last time they scored. Berríos lasted three innings, allowing nine hits and striking out six batters, as the White Sox recorded multiple safeties against his 4-seam fastball, curve ball and sinker. The White Sox are 4-0 against Berríos this season.

While the Blue Jays started warming Trent Thornton in the bullpen in the first inning, the White Sox sat back and watched Cease dominate a tough Blue Jays lineup. He retired the first 11 batters, including striking out the side in the second inning.

Cease didn’t have his usual inconsistent spurts, wild command that turns 0-2 counts into full counts, or mental lapses when teams catch a break. Instead, he held Toronto’s tough, top-four hitters — Bo Bichette, Marcus Semien, Guerrero Jr. and Teóscar Hernández — to 1-for-11 with three strikeouts, a walk and no runs. That said, he has Goodwin to thank for keeping Bichette off the bases to lead off the bottom of the first inning.

Still, when Guerrero Jr. broke up the perfect game with two outs in the fourth inning, Cease got Hernández to softly ground out on a curve ball to end the frame. In the sixth inning, a leadoff walk to Bichette turned into a double play in the next at-bat.

The Blue Jays looked confused by the movement on Cease’s off-speed pitches, which led to seven strikeouts. He had two strikeouts with each of his curve ball, 4-seam fastball and slider.

Cease’s control wavered in the later innings, but he was able to still work around lesser command and stuff on his pitches. He didn’t let a missed call, falling behind in the count or a base runner derail him. Only a Corey Dickerson home run on an inside fastball with one out in the seventh inning hurt Cease, but he responded by retiring the next two batters during a seven-inning start.

The White Sox amassed 18 hits, but the Blue Jays still had a chance to tie the game with AL MVP contender Guerrero Jr. at the plate.

Michael Kopech allowed a pair of singles during a three-batter outing, while Liam Hendriks walked Semien on four pitches to load the bases. Guerrero Jr. fouled off a fastball down the middle, and then swung through an inside fastball on 3-1. But in a full count, Hendriks got him to ground into a double play on a fastball down the middle to end the inning, and strand the bases loaded to keep a 5-1 lead intact.

Hendriks completed the five-out save in time to avoid facing the top of Toronto’s lineup, but he did bring the tying run to the plate after Lourdes Gurriel singled home Hernández to make it 5-2 with one out. But Hendriks got Josh Palacios, who represented the tying run, to swing through a high fastball for the second out, and then battled back from a 2-0 count to get Santiago Espinal to ground out to García, who bobbled the ball before finishing the play.

It came down to the wire, despite the White Sox nearly having 20 hits. Part of the offense’s struggles stemmed from the White Sox being thrown out three times on the basepaths. Abreu tried to stretch a single into a double in the sixth, but Gurriel threw him out at second base. In the eighth inning, Zack Collins was tagged out at home on a nice throw from center fielder Palacios. Then in the ninth inning, Goodwin tried to get to third base after having to wait for Leury Garcia’s single to fall, but was easily gunned out.

The White Sox and Blue Jays play the third contest of a four-game set 6:07 p.m. Central tomorrow. Tim Anderson is expected to be back in the lineup.