Winning is fun! If you’re confused on how that happened, this is how the White Sox got there.
Traffic started early tonight. Dylan Cease worked out of trouble after two singles and a walk to José Abreu loaded the bases in the top of the first inning. Jeremy Peña grounded into a fielders choice to end the inning. In the bottom of the first, Tim Anderson hit a ball off the fence for a double, but overslid the bag and was tagged out. He was slow to get up, but ultimately only his pride was hurt, and he remained in the game.
Much like how the entire season has been, the common theme tonight was leaving runners in scoring position. In the bottom of the second, Yoán Moncada ripped a double to lead the inning off, his first hit since returning from the IL. Gavin Sheets singled to get him to third. Hanser Alberto and Seby Zavala didn’t want in on any fun, and recorded two consecutive outs to get Brandon Bielak out of trouble.
Do you have deja vu? I do, because in the bottom of the third, with one out and Tim Anderson on third and Andrew Benintendi on first, Andrew Vaughn grounded into a double play to squander any hope of scoring anytime soon.
Dylan Cease did not play in much traffic after the first inning, but when Peña singled in the fourth, Zavala showed off his arm and caught the World Series MVP stealing. Impressive, considering Peña has stolen six bases successfully already this season. With the running threat gone, Corey Julks struck out swinging to end the inning, giving Cease four Ks through four.
Luis Robert Jr. must have heard your complaints about there being no score, because with one out in the White Sox fourth, he crushed a ball to left field. Still, we’re taking bets to see how long the lead holds.
More scoring was foiled by Vaughn in the bottom of the fifth, after Anderson and Benintendi got to first and third with two outs. If you’re frustrated hearing that twice in one game, imagine Vaughn’s frustration. The first baseman looked quite grumpy after another ground out.
We interrupt this sad tale of stranded runners to let you know that Dylan Cease ended his night after six innings. After the first inning, no Astros made it past first base. The scoreless outing lowered Cease’s ERA to 4.86. The performance was capped off by five strikeouts, the fifth being a K looking by Yordan Alvarez to start the sixth.
What do you get when Joe Kelly and Vaughn chase an in-between bouncer and no one is covering first base? An Astros run! The White Sox would indeed need more than one run to win the ball game. Not usually a tall task, but for a 13-27 Chicago club, it felt near impossible.
Vaughn with an opportunity to plate a second run? Yes, an opportunity for him to play hero happened for a third time tonight came about, as . This time Benintendi was on third with two outs. Rather than playing hero, Vaughn struck out and stranded yet another White Sox runner.
Perhaps first baseman didn’t play hero because he wanted to give all the glory to his center fielder in the bottom of the eighth? Moncada opened the inning with his second double of the evening, and Robert singled him home. Apparently, scoring more than one run was not impossible after all.
Now, in case you think insurance runs are too much to ask for, Zavala provided a bloop RBI single to score the third run of the game.
Kendall Graveman earned himself a save, working around a leadoff single in the ninth.
Well, 13 games worse than .500 is better than 15. We will see you tomorrow, when the South Siders are sure to strand more runners looking for home.