What a game! The Chicago White Sox took the opener of the series against the Oakland Athletics, 14-2, and had standout performances from a handful of players. Let’s start from the beginning to see this thing unravel.
This game looked like it was going to go the White Sox way from the first batter. Elvis Andrus started off his return to Oakland perfectly, hitting a leadoff home run off of JP Sears for a 1-0 lead. Yoán Moncada added onto the fun, hitting a home run of his own to go back-to-back to open the game. Is this what we’ve been waiting for all year?
Romy González started off the top of the second inning with a single, followed by a Seby Zavala double. Andrus continued his revenge tour with a single to score González and extend the lead to 3-0.
Moncada hit his second right-handed home run of the game, this time a three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-0. The Twitter haters are silent tonight.
If YoYo can heat up as well, this offense is going to be a problem.
Oakland starter JP Sears was replaced by lefty Zach Logue to start the third inning after going just two innings with eight hits, six runs, and one strikeout.
Dylan Cease didn’t have a quick first few innings, but he got the job done when needed. He got some help in the bottom of the third inning from another terrific defensive play by Andrus at shortstop, who barehanded a ball to take away an infield single from Nick Allen.
The Athletics threatened to get some runs back after that with two on and one out, but Cease induced a fly out and struck out Stephen Vogt to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, Eloy Jiménez continued his hot streak with yet another home run, with Moncada on first base, extending the lead to 8-0.
Crazy statistic here: After that home run from Jiménez, it was the White Sox first game this season with four homers, and all came before the end of the fourth inning …
The scoring continued in the fifth, as González started it off with a double, and Adam Engel singled him in for a 9-0 lead.
Moncada hit what was almost his third home run of the night, but instead found the ball stopped by the wall in center field for a double. It still drove in a run, to give the South Siders a double-digit advantage, 10-0.
Cycle watch for Moncada? (Spoiler alert. He didn’t get it. But the anticipation is always fun.)
Cease went through the bottom of the fifth striking out the side, well, around a walk.
Jiménez started the top of the sixth with a walk, followed by an AJ Pollock double and Andrew Vaughn single to score Jiménez and add on, at 11-0.
González continued his perfect night, adding a three-run home run of his own to put the Sox up, 14-0. It was a perfect score to match the energy of NFL opening night. After all, the White Sox scored more than the Los Angeles Rams tonight.
The White Sox didn’t score in the seventh inning. Darn.
José Ruiz replaced Cease to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Although it was overshadowed by the offense, Cease had yet another spectacular start, going six innings with just three hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts. His ERA now drops to 2.06.
Vince Velasquez took over in the eighth inning, but let up two runs to cut the lead to a mere 12.
Position player pitching alert!
Oakland’s Sheldon Neuse threw a scoreless inning of work in the top of the ninth. Jiménez almost hit one out on him, but I guess hitting a 40 mph pitch out isn’t as easy as it seems.
Velasquez continued into the bottom of the ninth inning, and closed out the game and secured the win.
Overall, this was an absolute offensive explosion. Although the box score is a headache to read, Moncada picked up five hits and five RBIs, González had four hits and three RBIs, and multiple others had at least two hits. It was truly fun to see the smiles, laughs, and cheering from the dugout. Are we back? How long do we keep asking the question?
Anyway, let’s do it again tomorrow. The team currently stands just 1 1⁄2 games back of the first place Cleveland Guardians, who start a series on the road against the Minnesota Twins tomorrow. The Twins got the win tonight to stay tied with the White Sox for second place. Who do we even root for over the weekend in Minneapolis? Is neither an option?
Same start time tomorrow, 8:40 p.m. CT. Lucas Giolito will be on the mound against righty James Kaprielian. Chuck and Ozzie are having a Late Night show on the postgame, so that’s when you know it’s late and time for bed. They did get a few laughs out of me, though. Everyone have a good, peaceful, stress-free sleep and get ready for another one tomorrow night!