The White Sox blew a couple leads, came from behind a few times, and then held on to win by one run in a very strange game. The contest had a ton of sloppy defense–even from defensive demigod Manny Machado–attempted bunts, a should-have-been triple play, dingers…and somehow it yielded a high scoring White Sox victory, and they avoided the dreaded three-game losing streak.
I had previewed this game warning about the possibility of lots of home runs by the Orioles. As if to ridicule me, the Orioles jumped out to a 1-0 lead based on a string of singles, including a bunt by Chris freaking Davis of all people. “Fortunately,” vindication on my prediction would come, first with a Brett Lawrie solo shot, then behind an Orioles rally that included Pedro Alvarez and Jonathan Schoop going yard.
This was easily Mat Latos‘ worst outing of the year, although that’s sort of a loaded way of describing it. He had the good sense to give up home runs when nobody was on base, but his problems missing bats stung quite a bit more against the best offense he’s faced. It’s a miracle that Latos came out of it as well as he did, given how many baserunners he allowed. In fact, in the third, he allowed the first two baserunners to reach and the White Sox nearly turned their second triple play on the young season. Adam Jones grounded to Frazier who stepped on third, threw to Lawrie at second, who was unable to pull the trigger on a throw to first. It was unlikely they would be able to throw out Jones, but Machado’s slide was extremely questionable and Ventura challenged the play.
The umpires declined to reverse the call and turn it into a triple play based on interference. Ventura was Really Mad and got himself ejected. As this was Ventura’s first ejection of 2016, this was also our first chance to see Rick Renteria manage the team.
Over the next few innings, each team tacked on runs, eventually pushing to a 5-5 tie, when Todd Frazier smashed a two-run homer off of the extremely capable Darren O’Day. It was a 1-2 pitch, but a mistake, and one of the beauties of having the power that Frazier does is that a single mistake can be cashed in for runs immediately.
Unfortunately, Matt Albers–bumped up to 8th Inning Duty in David Robertson‘s absence–would lose his scoreless streak at 33.1 IP thanks in part to Jose Abreu failing to scoop a throw that would have ended the inning cleanly. Renteria brought in Zach Duke to face Chris Davis, which resulted in a two-run double and another lead for Baltimore. The Orioles would bring in their closer, Zach Britton, who got two quick strikeouts before injuring himself while trying to nab Adam Eaton on a bunt hit.
That meant the White Sox got to try their hand at a two-out rally against Vance Worley instead of a typical late-inning reliever. They succeeded. Carlos Sanchez worked a walk before Jose Abreu singled on a grounder to put them ahead 8-7. Nate Jones would lock things down for the save.
Given that the White Sox were on the road against an absurdly potent lineup with the 3-4-5 slots of their rotation, and with their closer on the bereavement list, I consider stealing one out of three games a resounding success.
Team Record: 17-8
Lead Image Credit: Nick Turchiaro // USA Today Sports Images