The White Sox almost always win if they hit two homers. Getting five makes it even easier.
Faced with a pitcher Terry Francona just sent out to be cannon fodder (he could have saved everybody a lot of time and trouble by holding up nine fingers to indicate intentional loss), the White Sox took the insult to heart and dented seats around the Progressive Field outfield.
Five different Sox hitters went deep off of 260-pound call-up Hunter Gaddis, he of the 22+ ERA Gaddises, going dinger four innings in a row for the first time in a decade. The first was truly earned, as Gavin Sheets homered on the 10th pitch of his second-inning at-bat. The rest were mostly taking advantage of pitches that might as well have been on a tee.
Still, it was great fun, so here they all are.
Yoán Moncada had a double and two singles to go with his blast, which was the longest of the five at 420 feet. José Abreu had three singles and drove in both runs that weren’t from homers. The only hitless starters were Eloy Jiménez and AJ Pollock, and Pollock had a couple of very nice catches after moving to left in the later innings.
On the pitching side, Lance Lynn struggled some early, giving up four hits and a run in the first two innings, to go along with a popup Yasmani Grandal managed to let fall right in front of the plate. Lynn turned that around, retiring nine in a row and ending up with 6 1⁄3 innings of six-hit, two-run ball, the second run coming from a runner on base after he left the game.
Otherwise, Aaron Bummer, Reynaldo López, and Kendall Graveman held the Guardians scoreless, though Graveman got hit hard and gave up a couple of hits before Cleveland hitters decided to get the game over with on two Ks on pitches nowhere near the zone.
Things might have been much different if Francona had stuck with the originally-scheduled Triston McKenzie instead of the hapless Gaddis, but that’s a problem of his own making, even if it was desperation caused by two starting pitchers on the IL and a doubleheader against the Twins coming up.
Maybe the White Sox can stay alive long enough to make Francona pay for it. With the Guardians coming to town for three games next week, the chance to close the three-game gap (four in the loss column) comes soon. The win today also means Cleveland hasn’t clinched the tiebreaker for the division crown, though they still have a 9-7 lead head-to-head.
Five Thirty Eight, which updates its predictions after every game, upped the White Sox chances at the AAAL Central division title from 10% to 15%.
While Cleveland takes on the Twins for five games, the Sox get the seemingly easier weekend of three in Detroit. Lucas Giolito will face righty Matt Manning in the first of that series tomorrow night.