The White Sox (90-68) started their brief series against the Reds (82-76) on Tuesday, and the Good Guys got the job done. Riley O’Brien, who started on the mound for Cincinnati, made his MLB debut. O’Brien had the tough task of shutting down an offense that came out swinging well, and he fell short, along with Cincinnati’s bullpen.
The South Siders got off to a fast start in this one, as they got on the board in the bottom of the first. With one out and nobody on base, Luis Robert stepped up to the plate and did an extremely Luis Robert-esque thing.
That ball was crushed (111.5 mph exit velocity), and the home run gave the White Sox an early 1-0 lead.
The South Siders were not done hitting home runs against O’Brien. In the second, Yoán Moncada smashed a towering fly ball to right-center that went 423 feet.
That was Moncada’s 13th home run of the season, and it doubled the South Siders’ lead. Shortly after Moncada’s homer, Leury García and César Hernández walked. Those walks prompted a pitching change, as O’Brien was removed with two on and one out in the second. O’Brien threw 42 pitches in one and one-third innings.
In the fourth, Gavin Sheets added an insurance run by launching a solo home run of his own.
This 415-footer was the 10th major league home run for the rookie, who increased the South Siders’ lead to three.
Meanwhile, White Sox starter Reynaldo López was difficult for Cincinnati to solve. López breezed through the Reds’ order early on, retiring 13 of his first 14 opposing hitters. The only Red to reach base safely through four and one-third innings was Joey Votto, who singled in the second. López finally ran into some resistance from Cincinnati’s offense with one out in the fifth, when Eugenio Suárez hit his 30th home run of the year.
However, that was the only damage that the Reds managed against López in six innings of work. His final line was as follows: six innings, one run, two hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. Against all odds, López has positioned himself to be an important piece of the postseason pitching staff.
The White Sox added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Eloy Jiménez led off with a single and advanced to second on an error. Then, Moncada walked, and García laid down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Jiménez and Moncada to advance a base. Sheets hit a single to drive in a run, which put the White Sox back up by three. Hernández wrapped up the scoring that inning by grounding into a force out that allowed Moncada to score. Hernández was originally ruled out at first, but a successful challenge resulted in the White Sox being able to extend their lead to four.
From there, the bullpen locked it down. José Ruiz, Aaron Bummer, and Matt Foster each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. For good measure, Robert hit a mammoth, 445-foot home run in the bottom of the eighth.
WOW! LUIS ROBERT GOT ALL OF THAT ONE! pic.twitter.com/Lb2C21lBzt— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 29, 2021
Everything about this is fantastic. Bravo on the call, Benetti.
The White Sox are back in action tomorrow evening against the Reds. Carlos Rodón and Sonny Gray are the probable starting pitchers, and once again, the first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Central. We will see you then.