After dropping a three-game series in Kansas City against the Royals (62-76), the White Sox (80-58) looked to right the ship in Oakland against the Athletics (74-64). Fortunately, Jimmy Lambert performed admirably, and the bullpen got the job done down the stretch.
The South Siders opened the scoring early on against Oakland starter James Kaprielian. Luis Robert led off the game with a single to center, and Yoán Moncada doubled to right to put runners on second and third with no outs. Once again, José Abreu was hit by a pitch, and once again, Yasmani Grandal drew a walk. Grandal put together an excellent plate appearance, as he saw nine pitches, and it ended with him taking an outside fastball that forced in the first run of the game.
In the bottom of the first, Jimmy Lambert took the mound for the White Sox. Under normal circumstances, this is not the player White Sox fans would have liked to see, but injuries limited the team’s choices. Early on, it appeared that his outing would not go well. Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the first with a double, and a deep fly out to center allowed Harrison to advance to third. Then, with one out, Matt Olson drove in Harrison with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
In the second, the White Sox failed to retake the lead, but a potentially dangerous incident took place. Largely due to a questionable layout of the dugouts in the Oakland Coliseum, a sharp foul ball hit by Andrew Vaughn found its way into the White Sox dugout. Unfortunately, the foul ball struck Eloy Jiménez in the knee. Jiménez stayed in the game for the time being, and the score remained 1-1 for a while.
In the top of the fifth, the White Sox got on the board again. Jiménez led off with a single, and Grandal hit a single on the second pitch of the at-bat (his first two plate appearances were nine-pitch walks). Gavin Sheets drove in Jiménez with yet another single, and Leury García extended the streak to four consecutive singles to load the bases. Andrew Vaughn struck out to end the streak, but César Hernández hit the fifth single of the inning to make it 4-1. In the bottom half, Brian Goodwin entered the game to replace Jiménez, who left due to a right knee contusion and is day-to-day.
Meanwhile, the bottom of the fifth was Lambert’s last inning on the mound, and it was his fourth consecutive scoreless inning. It was also his second one-two-three inning, as he only needed 70 pitches to get through those five innings. As a result of his strong performance, he left the game in line for the victory, as the White Sox had a 4-1 lead when he departed. Lambert’s final line: five innings, one earned run, three hits, two walks, and two strikeouts.
Garrett Crochet delivered a one-two-three sixth inning of relief, and Ryan Tepera only needed 11 pitches to retire the side in the seventh. The South Siders’ path to victory got even more clear in the top of the eighth. Even though Hernández and Robert grounded out to open the inning, Moncada doubled, Abreu walked, and after a wild pitch, Goodwin drove them both in. Just like that, it was 6-1, and the game became drama-free.
Oakland got those two insurance runs back in the bottom of the eighth on hits by Elvis Andrus and Starling Marte. However, it was too little, too late, as the White Sox held on after an easy ninth inning pitched by Liam Hendriks.
The White Sox remained a game behind Houston for the No. 2 seed in the American League. It is also important to note that the Astros have the tiebreaker if those teams were to end with the same record.
The South Siders will try to take another game in Oakland tomorrow night. Dallas Keuchel and Frankie Montas are the probable starting pitchers. Once again, the first pitch will be at 8:40 p.m. Central, NBC Sports Chicago will televise it, and WMVP 1000 AM will have the radio coverage.