Johnny Cueto was brilliant again, but it just wasn’t enough, as the Mariners hung on to even the series, with a 3-0 win.
In the only night game of this three-game set, the Chisox were happy to welcome Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert back into the lineup. Although for Robert, the return was brief. More on that later.
It was a quiet top of the first, with a single by Moncada, the only action for the Sox. Encouraging to see Yoán making solid contact in his first at-bat after coming off the IL. In the bottom of the frame, Cueto made a quick 1-2-3 of the Mariners.
The second inning was scoreless for both teams, but wasn’t short on action. In the Sox half, unfortunately, Robert was hit in the hand. Dude just can’t catch a break. After a visit from training staff, he stayed in the game for a bit, only to be replaced in the bottom of the fifth by Adam Engel. The update from the Sox is that Robert has a bruised left hand and will be day-to-day. To lead off the bottom of the inning, Eugenio Suarez singled to right but was quickly erased on a force out by Jesse Winkler. It should have been an easy double play, but Romy González couldn’t find the ears quick enough to get it out of his glove to turn it. Then, during Cal Raleigh’s at-bat, Cueto sent a pitch flying way past Yasmani Grandal that enabled Winkler to easily get to second. Ultimately, Raleigh walked to put runners on first and second. Luckily, Cueto magic appeared, as Adam Frazier grounded into a DP and all the runners were erased.
In the third, the South Siders and Mariners both went down in order. Gilbert’s pitches were stumping the boys while Cueto kept the Mariners off-balance as well, as he continued to mix up his delivery. We love the Cueto Shim Sham Shimmy!
Things got a bit exciting in the fourth for both teams. Moncada had his second single of the night, which was good to see, because the Sox really need Yoán to be productive down the stretch if they have a chance for the AL Central. Then, José Abreu was hit by a pitch up and in. With two on and no out, Eloy Jiménez flew out to center field and Gavin Sheets grounded into a force out that should have been a DP, but this time it was the Mariners who didn’t execute to keep the Sox alive in the inning. It was all for naught, however, as AJ Pollock lined out to end it.
Imagine that! Runners in scoring position who didn’t score.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Mariners had their fair share of action and adventure with a leadoff double by Ty France. He came around to score on a bad-hop throwing error by Sheets after a Mitch Haniger fly out. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team score a run because a ball hit a camera; baseball is full of firsts no matter how long you’ve been watching.
The fifth inning came and went for both teams. It was uneventful. That’s all you need to know.
In the sixth, after Moncada struck out, Abreu smoked a double into the center-field gap. Eloy followed with a rocket SINGLE to center field. José was held at third by Joe McEwing, which was a good thing because he would have been DOA at home. I find myself often asking why do we have so many slow-ass runners? Do you, too? Then, I bet you can guess what happens next: The Sox couldn’t execute with runners in scoring position. Sheets was unable to drive Abreu home, as both he and Pollock struck out, the eighth and ninth victims for Seattle starter Logan Gilbert. In the bottom of the sixth, the Mariners got a single from Haniger and Cueto walked Suarez, but he pitched out of it.
In the seventh, Matt Brash came in to pitch for the Mariners and Engel led off with a single — and was caught stealing. Grandal walked, Romy struck out, and Elvis Andrus grounded out. More men left on base; the story of the 2022 White Sox. After Cueto came out for the bottom of the seventh and gave up a leadoff base hit to Frazier and a walk to Jake Lamb, Miguel Cairo made the call to the pen for Jimmy Lambert. Lambert took care of business and retired the next three batters.
The eighth inning started off quietly, as Moncada flew out and Abreu struck out. With two outs, Jiménez singled and a Sheets walked. Then, shocker, Pollock struck out. Reynaldo López came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth and after getting the first two batters, proceeded to walk Haggerty and then give up a two-run home run to Raleigh — a doubled-up curveball to a curveball masher. And just like that, the Mariners went up, 3-0.
Paul Sewald, an appropriate name for a Mariner, pitched the ninth, looking for his 18th save. Without much effort, he found it. Nothing to look at here, folks. Game over.
The White Sox had numerous opportunities to score in this game, but like they have so often done this season, they couldn’t get the job done with ducks on the pond. They stranded nine.
In addition to this loss, the Guardians (70-64) won, so the Sox dropped to three games back in the AL Central race.
The White Sox will get one more chance against the Mariners tomorrow, at 3:10 p.m. CST. Luis Castillo will be on the bump for the Mariners, and the Sox have not yet named their starting pitcher. You can catch the rubber match on NBC Sports Chicago and WMVP 1000 AM. Both will be broadcasting the game.