After a tough loss on Monday, the White Sox (35-38) redeemed themselves in a big way. Their convincing win over the Angels (36-41) provided great offense that has been surprisingly rare for this year’s team. Let’s get into it, shall we?
White Sox starter Johnny Cueto was cruising through two innings, only needing 19 pitches, and the only Angel who reached base early on was Shohei Ohtani, who doubled in the first. Cueto finally ran into trouble in the third inning, when Angel Stadium turned into Home Run Derby. No. 9 hitter Andrew Velazquez led off the bottom of the third with his fifth home run of the season. Two batters later, some guy named Mike Trout hit a solo home run, and Ohtani made it back-to-back jacks with the third homer of the inning. After opening the game with two very efficient innings, Cueto needed 30 pitches to get through the third. Suddenly, his pitch count had ballooned to 49, and the White Sox trailed by three.
Despite the nightmarish third inning, Cueto recovered and accomplished the minimum required for a quality start, with six innings and those three runs. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5:1 was also strong, and it helped him avoid any damage beyond those three long balls.
Meanwhile, during the first four innings, the White Sox struggled immensely to put runners on base. Tim Anderson led off the game with a single, but after that, they struggled to solve Angels starter Chase Silseth. The next White Sox hitter to reach base was Luis Robert, who took advantage of a hanger in the fourth by hitting a double. Robert was stranded at second, and the Angels maintained their 3-0 lead.
The White Sox did make quite a bit of sharp contact against Silseth in the fourth, as Andrew Vaughn flew out deep right. Gavin Sheets and José Abreu also exceeded 100 mph with their exit velocities that inning, but they beat those pitches into the turf for ground outs.
In the fifth, the White Sox continued to hit the ball hard, and we experienced one of the wilder momentum swings of the season. The lower third of the order was due up, and with the team looking dead in the water, the White Sox pieced an explosive inning together. Leury García got the party started with a single, and Seby Zavala drove a double down the left-field line. Many White Sox fans cringed when Joe McEwing waved García around third, but this time, it was the right call. García scored, and it was 3-1. That brought up Josh Harrison, who did something not even the most homer-ish White Sox fans could predict.
Just like that, the game was tied, Silseth was out of the game, and the White Sox had all the momentum. Oliver Ortega, the new pitcher for Los Angeles, tried to halt that momentum, but it was not his evening. Anderson, the first batter to face him, got his second of three singles of the day. Then, with two outs, Robert did something special.
Robert’s mammoth, 448-foot home run made it a five-run inning, and the White Sox had their first lead of the game.
The White Sox nearly added insurance in the sixth, when Yoán Moncada led off with a single for his first hit since his return. García followed with a double that put runners on second and third. Zavala worked an eight-pitch at-bat that resulted in a strikeout on a tough changeup, but Harrison walked to load the bases with one out. That brought up Anderson with a chance to break the game open — but he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
However, the disappointment of failing to score in the sixth was quickly erased with the White Sox’s second monstrous inning of the game. In the seventh, they went right back to work as Vaughn drew a leadoff walk, Robert singled, and Abreu doubled the lead with a two-run double. Then, Sheets drew a walk, and Moncada hit an RBI double to extend the team’s lead and on-base streak to five. The on-base streak ended when García struck out, but Zavala and Harrison hit back-to-back RBI singles to make it 10-3 and cap off another five-run inning.
Now that both teams have won one game this series, the rubber match will be tomorrow at 8:38 p.m. Central. There will be a lot of high-velocity pitches, as the probable starters are Michael Kopech and Shohei Ohtani. As usual, NBC Sports Chicago will televise the game, and WMVP 1000 AM will have the radio coverage. We will see you then.