The White Sox had a chance to walk away with a four-game sweep of one of the best teams in baseball, and they blew it.
Sure, it might seem a little spoiled acting like winning three of four is a bad thing, but this team is sliding and sliding fast, and winning this game would have been a huge boon, both in the standings and for morale. They would have gone a game over .500, and bee just five back of the Indians. Instead they slip backwards again, this time because of the still-awful bullpen. James Shields pitched a decent five-inning, three-run performance, but the bullpen tire fire stew of Matt Albers, Dan Jennings, and Chris Beck allowed four runs and seven base runners over just three innings. Then, to put a cherry on top, Matt Purke allowed the winning blow in extra innings.
1. In the early going, Shields looked like his old self. He got through the first four innings without a scratch, and it looked like it could have been a good day. He allowed one run in the fifth on a two-out Dustin Pedroia RBI double following a Mookie Betts single, and then he let his day unravel in the sixth.
2. Offensively, by that point the White Sox were able to put a four-spot on the board: they put two on the board in the first inning off of Rick Porcello as he loaded the bases to start the game, then he allowed a Melky Cabrera double play and a wild pitch to bring home two. The Sox picked up another in the fourth on a J.B. Shuck RBI single in the fourth, followed by a Todd Frazier sac fly in the sixth that scored Cabrera after a leadoff triple. As far as offensive days goes, this was not a bad one.
3. Back to that dreaded sixth inning: Shields walked both David Ortiz and Ryan LaMarre to start off the inning, and was immediately pulled for Albers. You know what’s coming next: Albers hit Jackie Bradley Jr., then allowed an RBI single to Hanley Ramirez. Brett Lawrie also threw the ball away on the play, so two runs were able to score. Albers followed up allowing an RBI single to backup catcher Sandy Leon, and Jennings came on and allowed one more tally on a Marco Hernandez force out so the Red Sox could take a 5-4 lead.
4. This is where things got weird. The White Sox got a huge blast in the top of the seventh–Jose Abreu hit a monster three-run home run to give them a 7-5 lead–but the bullpen gave it right back. Robin Ventura brilliantly brought in Beck in the seventh to face the heart of the order, and it was almost disastrous. Beck loaded the bases to start the inning, but somehow squeaked out of it by only allowing a run on a Travis Shaw sac fly that nearly missed being a grand slam. Nate Jones came in for the eighth, and he allowed the tying run when Hernandez doubled, and was driven home by a Pedroia single with two outs. David Robertson worked a scoreless ninth after getting into trouble, and the Sox were able to survive into extra innings. In the tenth, the White Sox had a golden opportunity to beat Craig Kimbrel after he loaded the bases to start the inning, but a pop out from Shuck and two strikeouts ended the threat. In the bottom of the tenth, the bullpen was finally toast: Purke put runners on first and second with one out, and Xander Bogaerts knocked home the winning run.
Team record: 36-37
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