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Marlins 5, White Sox 1: Pitching and defense win ballgames

Both implode, blowing a ninth-inning lead

Bad Joe Kelly is back: he blew the game in the ninth.
| Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The old adage of pitching and defense wins ballgames rang forever true in today’s game. It was a pitchers’ duel for the first eight innings, and then it all went awry when both the pitching and defense imploded in the top of the ninth.

Michael Kopech, who earned a no-decision, battled today and blanked the Miami Marlins with good, not great, stuff. He gave up five hits and one walk and didn’t hurl a single clean inning, allowing at least one base runner in each of the five he tossed. Over the past month, Kopech has evolved from thrower to pitcher, and if he can keep that up, it will be a turning point in the season and his overall career.

The top of the first was a wild one. After hitting the first two batters, Kopech struck out the next three. His command was erratic, and balls landed all over the box, but thankfully the free-swinging Marlins took the bait. He had six Ks on the day.

Kopech did get into a bit of trouble in the third inning after back-to-back singles by Luis Arráez and Jorge Soler put two on and nobody out. Fortunately, Michael gritted through and retired the next three hitters in order.

The White Sox offense was reticent, and they couldn’t manage to get anything going against Sandy Alcántara, who had been struggling coming into today’s game. That is until Andrew Vaughn’s solo bomb in the bottom of the fourth put the Good Guys up, 1-0.

Unfortunately, that was all she wrote, as Alcántara was magnificent, with ace stuff. He surrendered only that one run on three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts in seven innings. The Miami bullpen of Steven Okert and A.J. Puk took over from there and locked down the win for the Fish.

The Sox bullpen had been absolute NAILS in June, with a 0.78 ERA and 0.61 WHIP so far through eight games. That is until Joe Kelly was brought in to close the game in the ninth inning. He quickly loaded the bases with no one out, after consecutive singles by Garrett Cooper and Arráez and a walk to Jorge Soler.

Then, the South Siders’ defensive streak of no errors over the last nine games was also blown when Tim Anderson dropped a ground ball by Bryan De La Cruz, which allowed the tying run to score.

It was pretty much all downhill from there, as all nine Marlins hitters came to the plate in the inning, scoring five total runs which were more than enough to win this one, 5-1.

The Pale Hose will be back at it tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. CST, when Lucas Giolito faces off against Braxton Garrett.

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