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White Sox 2, Guardians 1: Series split secured!

South Siders win a nail-biter, thanks to brilliant pitching

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians
Boy, is it good to see Liam Hendriks screaming again.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

What a game! The Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Guardians, 2-1, at Progressive Field to split the series at two games apiece.

This game felt different, not like a normal win; every White Sox player was excited tonight, and it feels good. These are the games the team should be winning, and they finally are. It was a very anxious game, but the outcome went our way.

Aaron Civale started the game for the Guardians, and was immediately rattled a bit by back-to-back singles from Yoán Moncada and José Abreu. Unfortunately the team wasn’t able to get a run in that inning, but something was clearly off with Civale, and he left the game with right wrist soreness after just one inning of work.

The Cleveland bullpen was handed the keys for the rest of the game, and did a great job at shutting the White Sox down — at first.

Speaking of shutting teams down, Lucas Giolito looked quite like himself tonight. It was a pitchers’ duel throughout the game, and Giolito continued to get out of jams and produce strikeouts with the help of some amazing defensive plays, especially in the fourth inning.

With a runner at second, AJ Pollock made an outstanding running catch to rob José Ramirez.

Two batters later, Seby Zavala closed out the inning with a Sportscenter Top 10-worthy catch.

As Steve Stone said, he reached above both Sherwin and Williams for that catch!

It wasn’t until the sixth inning that someone finally got on the board, and it happened to be the South Siders. Can we guess what type of pitcher it was against? Yep, a lefty.

Sam Hentges started off the inning for the Guardians by issuing a walk to Moncada, followed by a Luis Robert single. Abreu showed us his Pito Power with this one on an 0-2 pitch, smacking a double off of the right field wall to score Moncada.

The Abreu “getting hot when the weather gets hot” tendency remains intact.

With two outs, Andrew Vaughn delivered with an RBI ground out to score Robert and extend the lead to 2-0.

Giolito came back out for the bottom of the sixth, and got out of a jam after allowing a leadoff double to Myles Straw.

Unfortunately in the midst of that, Eloy Jiménez was taken out of the game after chasing down a fly out to end the inning.

We all held our breaths until we got the tweet confirmation on the injury, and luckily it looks like we got the best-case scenario.

Adam Engel replaced Eloy, and postgame Tony La Russa indicated that Eloy seemed OK but would probably sit until the weekend. Hopefully we see him out there again before the All-Star break.

The South Siders threatened again against the lefty in the top of the seventh inning, with Tim Anderson hitting a two-out single, and Moncada inducing yet another walk. Righty Trevor Stephan took the mound to face Luis Robert, and unfortunately what would have been a single hit Tim Anderson as he was heading to third base, to end the inning scoreless.

Giolito pitched into the seventh, but ran into some trouble as Franmil Reyes had a one-out single and Nolan Jones walked. His night ended there, but Giolito pitched great, getting the win and going 6 13 innings with no earned runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. His ERA is now down to 2.69.

It was up to one of our best relievers this year so far, Reynaldo López, to end the inning, but one run scored as Josh Harrison made a fielding error at second base. Luckily López made up for it against the next batter, throwing Straw out at first to end the inning to keep the lead intact.

Kendall Graveman saw an inning of work in the eighth, throwing some nasty pitches and coming back from a 3-0 count to strike out Amed Rosario.

Liam Hendriks, who we haven’t seen in a while, picked right back up from where he left off, throwing a 1-2-3 ninth inning to end the game and secure the win.

That’s the best way to end a game.

And it was a must-needed win, and now we get to say goodbye to Progressive Field!

But there’s no rest for the White Sox, as tomorrow is the start of a very important four-game series before the All-Star break. I know it’s only July, but every game feels crucial right now, especially when it’s going against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Johnny Cueto will be on the mound against Sonny Gray. Game time is at 6:40 p.m. CT. Enjoy the night, and get ready for some more baseball (and hopefully a win) coming your way tomorrow!