What a game for the Chicago White Sox to close out their series against the Cincinnati Reds, as they win it by a touchdown and a two field goals, 17-4. They are now 5-2 in the last week, starting with the Andrew Vaughn walk-off home run against the Tampa Bay Rays. Not to be dramatic, but that clout might have saved the season.
This is Chicago’s second series win in a row, so let’s break it down from the start ... which was a little shaky.
Graham Ashcraft, who has been great all season, started off superbly. The Reds cruised through the first, and Jonathan India had a leadoff home run against Michael Kopech in the bottom of the inning. Things weren’t looking too well after TJ Friedl and Spencer Steer also reached, still without an out. Then, the White Sox botched a rundown — we don’t need to relive the play with video, but let’s just say it was an ugly play and another sloppy defensive miscue. Luckily, Kopech was able to get out of the inning with three straight outs to follow, and the fun started from there.
Luis Robert Jr. started off the bottom of the second inning with a walk, and Hanser Alberto followed with a two-run home run to give the team a 2-1 lead.
Alberto is currently that guy on the team that makes you go from “DFA him” to “best player ever” from day-to-day.
Yasmani Grandal and Elvis Andrus hit singles, Tim Anderson walked with two outs, and Andrew Benintendi, the hometown hero, plated two on a clutch single to center.
Things started to really unravel for Ashcraft when Andrew Vaughn hit a two-run triple — and yes, you read that right.
Robert appeared yet again in the inning, this time pinballing an RBI single off of Ashcraft on to extend the lead to 7-1.
And that ended the day for Ashcraft, who went just 1 2⁄3 innings with six hits, eight runs, and two walks.
Casey Legumina came in for the Reds, but that didn’t really matter much, as Alberto walked and Grandal singled to score Robert and extend the lead to 8-1.
Let’s see if I’m missing anything ... sorry it’s hard to keep up with all these runs. Oh yeah, Gavin Sheets hit a three-run missile on a 3-0 count (damn your eyes, Tony!) to cap off the 11-run inning.
From that point, all Kopech had to do was have a solid finish, which is what he did. He got some help in the top of the third, as the scoring continued with back-to-back-to-back doubles from Vaughn, Robert and Alberto. This extended the lead to 14-1 going into the bottom of the third inning.
The Reds did hit back-to-back home runs off of Kopech in the bottom of the third, as Steer and Tyler Stephenson showed their power, but that only cut the deficit to 14-3. I will admit I did panic for a minute, because you never know with this pitching staff.
Will Myers also hit a solo home run to start the bottom of the fourth to shave the deficit to 14-4.
After an Anderson single and Benintendi double in the top of the fifth, Vaughn had yet another RBI with a sacrifice fly, and the 15th run of the game.
Robert walked ... again, and Alberto doubled ... again to score Benintendi and extend the lead to 16-4. Grandal had an RBI ground out to drive in the 17th run of the game, which would sadly end scoring for the day. It’s OK, though, 17 will do.
Kopech ended up going six innings, with eight hits, four runs, one walk, and two strikeouts. The main concern was the fact that he fell victim to the long ball again, giving up four home runs, but he kept his walks down and gave the team a solid outing.
This was a much-needed eruption, as 17 runs in a game was the most for the team since 2012, and 11 in an inning the most since 2007. Vaughn and Alberto were like the standout players this afternoon, as they each had four RBIs. Don’t stop now, boys! Let’s get all four against the Kansas City Royals, as they start a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium on Monday, as Dylan Cease takes the mound against Zack Greinke.
Well, I’ve covered two Sunday wins in a row, and now it’s time to relax. Everyone enjoy the stress-free night and get ready for some more baseball, tomorrow night at 6:40 p.m. CT.