Despite trailing by two with the bases empty and two outs in the ninth, the White Sox (33-33) somehow came away with a victory over the Blue Jays (38-30).
Although initially it was a low-scoring game between two talented starting pitchers, the White Sox got on the board early on. In the bottom of the second, AJ Pollock and Adam Engel hit back-to-back doubles against Kevin Gausman to give the South Siders a 1-0 lead. The good inning nearly turned into a huge inning shortly after. That was when Seby Zavala cranked a deep fly ball to center, but the drive resulted in what is known in the MLB The Show community as a perfect-perfect out.
In the fifth, with the score still 1-0, Danny Mendick drew a leadoff walk, and the White Sox seemed to be setting themselves up for a big inning when Tim Anderson followed with a single. Unfortunately, Anderson got picked off by catcher Alejandro Kirk, and Andrew Vaughn struck out (props to Gausman, as Vaughn has been mighty difficult to retire lately). However, Luis Robert came up clutch by ripping a double to left to drive in Mendick and double the lead.
Luis Robert is on a roll!#ChangeTheGame | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/j9rmhdGUCA— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 22, 2022
Meanwhile, Dylan Cease had a phenomenal start. None of the first five Blue Jays to bat were particularly close to making solid contact against him, and all five struck out. Cease was perfect through 3 1⁄3 innings with seven strikeouts. The first opponent to reach base was Bo Bichette, who drew a walk with one out in the fourth.
The Blue Jays finally appeared to be making some progress against Cease in the sixth, when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. led off with an infield single, and Raimel Tapia made decent contact on a fly out. But, Cease struck out George Springer and Bichette to close out the sixth inning, and ultimately, a brilliant start. Six innings, no runs, one hit, two walks, 11 strikeouts, 101 pitches. Mercy.
The White Sox had an opportunity to add to their lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Engel showed off his speed. After singling with one out, the swift outfielder managed to steal both second and third base. Unfortunately, with a runner on third and one out, Zavala took a 1-1 pitch that missed the zone that was called a strike and went on to strike out. So did Josh Harrison, and that ended the inning.
Jimmy Lambert took over on the mound in the top of the seventh, and that was when the Blue Jays finally got on the board. Kirk took advantage of a mistake on a fastball over the heart of the plate to hit a solo homer. That cut Toronto’s deficit in half, but that was the only damage the Blue Jays could do against Lambert.
The game was nearly decided in the eighth inning, when a lot of little things went the Blue Jays’ way. Interestingly, Davis Martin had taken over on the mound in the eighth to try to protect a one-run lead. Tony La Russa and the White Sox did not get the result that they wanted from that decision.
Matt Chapman drew a leadoff walk, and Guerriel hit a soft infield single (65.8 mph exit velocity) that was placed perfectly. Tapia followed with a sacrifice bunt that put two runners in scoring position, and Cavan Biggio hit a Kansas City Special that Anderson barely failed to catch. That tied the game 2-2, and the Blue Jays still had runners on the corners with one out.
Then, Bichette hit the Blue Jays’ second infield single of the inning to put Toronto in front, and a walk later, with the boo birds out, José Ruiz replaced Martin. The first batter to face Ruiz was Kirk, who drew a walk to force in a run. Ruiz worked out of the jam without allowing any more damage, but by that point, it was a 4-2 ballgame.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth, José Abreu singled, and with two outs, Engel kept the inning alive with a single of his own. That brought up Zavala, who had a nice plate appearance to work the count full, and he finally got a hanging slider ... but he was expecting a fastball, and struck out swinging.
In the top of the ninth, with runners on the corners and two outs, Bichette hit a blooper down the right-field line. Harrison got a great jump on the ball, and used every bit of his speed to get to the ball. Somehow, he made an excellent sliding catch to save a run.
Harrison kept the momentum going with a leadoff walk to open the bottom of the ninth, but Mendick grounded into a double play that appeared to seal a defeat. But, after a four-pitch walk to Anderson and a double by Andrew Vaughn, the tying run was in scoring position. Adam Haseley entered the game as a pinch-runner for Vaughn at second.
Enter Luis Robert.
NOT DONE YET!#ChangeTheGame | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/eIc9TykFB5— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 22, 2022
Incredibly, the White Sox had rallied after having two outs and nobody on base, trailing by a pair. Also, the inning was still going! Abreu blooped a single to left to put the potential winning run on third base. Pollock was the next hitter, and he had a chance to win the game. On a 1-2 pitch, Pollock made solid contact on a liner to center, but ... Bradley Zimmer made a diving catch to send the game to extras.
Reliever Kendall Graveman entered the game to begin the 10th, and he immediately gave up an RBI double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that drove in the free base runner. However, Graveman made a great recovery to keep the deficit at one.
In the bottom of the 10th, Engel continued his fantastic game by drawing a walk. That put runners on first and second with no outs. Jake Burger entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Zavala, and after a decent plate appearance, he struck out looking on pitch No. 6, which barely clipped the inside edge of the plate. But Harrison singled to load the bases, and Mendick came through with a liner that found outfield grass. That tied the game, and the bases were still loaded with one out.
Pitch No. 1 to Anderson missed the zone, but it was called a strike, and that set the tone for the rest of the at-bat. Anderson fouled off a similar pitch to make the count 0-2, and on yet another similar sinker, he grounded into a double play.
Reliever Vince Velasquez opened the top of the 11th with a balk that moved the free base runner to third. After a hit-by-pitch and a single by Tapia, it was 6-5, and the Blue Jays were still threatening. With runners on first and second with no outs, Biggio laid down a bunt that moved both runners up 90 feet. At that point, Velasquez had the tough task of retiring Bichette and Guerrero. With help from nice plays by Anderson and Mendick on infield grounders, Velasquez got the job done.
Haseley laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Anderson to third to open the bottom of the 11th. That set Robert up with another RBI opportunity, and once again, he delivered. Robert’s fly ball to medium-deep right field was just enough to drive in Anderson. Once again, the game was tied, and 11 innings proved to be insufficient to decide a winner.
Velasquez remained on the mound in the 12th, and Kirk drilled a liner to right that Engel made a great catch on for out No. 1. Guerrero, the free base runner, was unable to tag up and advance to third. From there, Robert made a sliding catch on a ball that appeared to be falling in front of him for a single. Finally, Velasquez got out of the inning unscathed with a slightly more routine fly out to deep right.
In the bottom of the 12th, Abreu started the inning on second base. Pollock popped out in foul territory, and the Blue Jays intentionally walked Engel. McGuire worked a full count, and the 3-2 pitch was outside, but it was called a strike for out No. 2. That brought up Harrison, who had already come up clutch in the field and at the plate in the latter portion of the game.
Did he keep that going? You bet.
HARRISON IS YOUR HERO TONIGHT! pic.twitter.com/9RYNQEZblZ— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 22, 2022
Harrison’s walk-off single sealed the deal, and just like that the White Sox returned to .500. Tomorrow they will try to complete a sweep of the Blue Jays, and the probable starters are Lucas Giolito and Ross Stripling. As usual, NBC Sports Chicago and WMVP 1000 AM will cover the game. MLB Network will also cover it, for out-of-market folks.
The White Sox will be back in action tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. Central. We will see you then.
Wow. What a game this was.
Who was the White Sox MVP?
This poll is closed
Dylan Cease: 6 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 11 K
Josh Harrison: 2-for-5, BB, walk-off RBI
Luis Robert: 2-for-5, 4 RBI
Adam Engel: 3-for-4, 2B, 2 BB, 2-for-2 SB
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Davis Martin: 1⁄3 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 K
Seby Zavala: 0-for-3, BB, 2 K, throwing error