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White Sox Rally Twice, Fall Short, 5-3

But seriously, who cares about a homer that sentenced the South Siders to a walk-off loss, they took a division today

MLB: Game Two-Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians
Warmup for meaningful postseason play, José? Fail.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

With locks of gold and arm electric, Michael Kopech strode the mound for a nightcap start that could well have been an audition for a postseason shot, if not for the fact that he tossed just 27 pitches, 16 for strikes, ending in four Ks during two scoreless, hitless innings, and that rather than Garrett Crochet coming in to draw swords from the left side after Kopech and his sweet flow did same with his biting sliders from the right, or Dallas Keuchel summoned like Eeyore to shuffle his way moundside, painting corners and pushing the zone two, three, four inches off the plate with his Wiffle madness that’s been so very touched this season compared to a year past, it was Mike Wright Jr. as the first off the bench, a strategy that saw the Sox fall behind on a wild pitch, but fresh off the injured list and hey, why not stick him right in at third base to start post-clinch for shits and giggles, Andrew Vaughn singled in two to put the White Sox up, a lead that was claimed despite the White Sox having runners thrown out both at home and third base in the inning, but as a Triple-A combo package is wont to do, the comedy team of 29th man Matt Foster and José Ruiz combined to give back the lead relieving in the bottom half, Ruiz failing to pick up his former and now brief bullpen mate by greeting a first and second with one out crisis by allowing a single-K-single combo that put Cleveland up, 3-2, the 3 in that score coming on a disputed tag play at home that was in fact called properly on the field but hey, props to Tony for trying, and about right now

you’re wondering if the Ricky’s Boys of old quit — to be fair, though, there were scant Boys of Ricky on the field just one year removed from the days of ceviche fever — and no, in fact, they did not, although they could have not-quit more efficiently, as a rally in the top of the seventh to tie the game left quite a bit of change on the table, three straight singles from Gavin Sheets, Billy Hamilton and Zack Collins packing the sacks with none out and putting César Hernández in position to be a hero, and hero he was, in the sense that he hit a grounder to first base that Yu Chang could not handle, bringing home Sheets with a tying tally and keeping the bases full for Adam Engel, who fortunately did not attempt a squeeze but perhaps should have, striking out on four pitches all directed at the umpire’s right shoe, bringing up Leury García with plenty of time and outs to cash in a lead, but the Legend faltered, tapping a grounder to short that forced Hamilton at home for the second out, and after five straight fouls on balls directed at the head of a phantom lefty batter by Emmanuel Clase, Yasmani Grandal lifted a flaccid pop to short that extinguished the flame, and naturally after a momentum shift and letdown of a rally blown to smithereens Ruiz entered for the seventh and threw the last of his 15 pitches in the game with ruthless efficiency, surrendering a leadoff single on a center-cut hanger to Travis Shaw, then after going 2-0 to Oscar Mercado before offering a high but juicy fastball down the heart of the plate that was electroshocked for a walk-off homer, the ball screaming toward something Clevelanders call

“the home run porch” in left but, it being Cleveland, revealed itself instead as a flat patch of concrete not out of place hosting cars for Circle K or Walgreens in a strip mall, so the good news/bad news takeaway tonight is that while our Chicagos must play another dozen or so games in Cleveland before the regular season loosens its grip and allows for fleeing, none of those three dozen games — OK, it’s just three more but, boy howdy, they’re gonna feel like 43 or 44 — mean much at all to the AL Central Champion White Sox, with ALDS home field largely out of reach and the horror show of last year’s ceaseless Cleveland walk-offs punctuating the free-fall out of first fading in the rear-view mirror.