The White Sox (77-56) returned to play tonight against the Pirates (48-84), who got no-hit by Lucas Giolito last time they faced him. The South Siders took advantage of Pittsburgh’s lack of depth to pull away with a victory Tuesday night.
Yasmani Grandal got the party started against Pirates starter Bryse Wilson. In the bottom of the second, Grandal launched his 18th home run of the season.
Grandal continues to provide a sizable spark to the South Siders’ lineup. Since his return from the injured list on the 27th, Grandal has seven hits, four of which were home runs, in four games. Of course, he has drawn quite a few walks (three) in those four games, too. Also, what a stat this is:
Yasmani Grandal has an OBP of .522 vs lefties this season.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) September 1, 2021
José Abreu continued mashing the ball, as well, as he typically does in the month of August. In the third inning, Abreu doubled the White Sox lead with a solo blast of his own.
For his career, Abreu entered tonight’s game with a .334/.390/.601 slash line in August. Thanks to his performance tonight (2-for-4 with that homer), those numbers somehow got even more impressive.
The Pirates managed to stick their noses back in this game in the fifth inning. Hoy Park, who was recently recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis (near the Indianapolis Field Office of SSS), drew a dreaded, leadoff walk that took eight pitches. Park was one of many Pirates who had long plate appearances against Giolito despite Pittsburgh’s lack of early success against him.
After Cole Tucker (also recently promoted from Indianapolis) flew out, a wild pitch allowed Park to advance to second. Then, things took a scary turn for Giolito and the White Sox. Ben Gamel barely made contact on a soft ground ball that acted as a great bunt. Giolito charged the ball but could not get the ball over to first in time. The worst part about the play, though, was that Giolito slipped and experienced some pain in his left leg after the play.
Lucas Giolito left the game with left hamstring tightness. He will be reevaluated tomorrow.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 1, 2021
Giolito threw a few pitches to the next hitter, Wilmer Difo. One of those pitches was the second wild pitch of the inning, and it allowed Park to score from third. (Grandal likely should have blocked this one, even though it was ruled a wild pitch.)
Shortly after that wild pitch, Giolito was pulled from the game after 86 pitches in 4 1⁄3 innings. Let’s hope Giolito will be able to return quickly.
Reliever Ryan Tepera took over on the mound, inheriting a runner on second with one out. After a fly out, Tepera allowed the inherited runner to score on a Colin Moran single that tied the game.
The good news is that the Pirates failed to score outside of those two fifth-inning runs, and the White Sox were back in business shortly after. In the sixth, Abreu led off with a single, and a single to right by Eloy Jiménez allowed Abreu to advance to third with no outs. Grandal drew a walk (of course) to load the bases, and then, Brian Goodwin also walked to force in the go-ahead run. Leury García tacked on an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.
From there, the bullpen shut things down. Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer, Craig Kimbrel, and Liam Hendriks each pitched an excellent inning of relief to help the White Sox secure the victory. In four innings, the four of them combined to allow no runs on one hit, no walks, and three strikeouts. Bravo.
The White Sox will try to get another victory over the Pirates tomorrow at 7:10 p.m. Central. The probable starters are Carlos Rodón and Mitch Keller. NBC Sports Chicago will televise it, and WMVP 1000 AM will have the radio coverage.