With their best hitter troubled by a sprained wrist, their center fielder’s injured knee still in recovery and their mid-season DH upgrade stuck on zero plate appearances for the season, perhaps it was unreasonable to expect the White Sox to collect any style points in dispatching even the moribund Minnesota Twins.
All they really need to do is collect wins somehow and steel themselves while they wait for roster upgrades, and it seems the Sox are determined not to offer anything beyond the minimum.
1. Ninth hitter J.B. Shuck‘s jamshot bloop single–his third hit of the day–plated the final go-ahead run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, and undid the torture of blowing 2-0 and 5-2 leads to the worst team in the American League.
Luckily, Shuck’s go-ahead blow, coupled with Avisail Garcia’s aggressive slide, came late enough in the game that the Sox could use the good part of their bullpen. Daniel Robertson struck out the side with some of his most ludicrous stuff in the ninth and coupled with Nate Jones to provide seven scoreless outs, five of which came by strikeout to hold the Twins off.
2. Shuck’s blow capped off a big day for maligned parts of the batting order. Garcia got the scoring started in a three-run fourth against the usually irksome Tommy Milone by fisting an RBI single to right, and scored twice on the day. Seemingly hopeless call-up Matt Davidson, got his first major league RBI in his second at-bat by drilling another RBI single up the middle, and the Sox were able to chase a both ineffective and uncommonly wild Milone after just three and third innings and five runs.
On the other hand, Davidson fracturing his right foot while running the bases sucked most of the thrill out of his success.
3. Carlos Rodon was, at points, incredibly awesome. He retired the first 11 batters he faced and struck out five of them for good measure, again sitting comfortably at 94-95 mph and showing off a tight slider that was effective even at as high as 91 mph. He immediately followed up that dominance by allowing back-to-back solo shots to Robbie Grossman and Brian Dozier on fastballs down the pipe in the fourth inning to hand back an early lead.
After a perfect fifth inning, Rodon curiously came out for the sixth inning with nothing left. Byron Buxton led off the sixth with a double to left, and scored on the next batter when Eduardo Nunez drove him in with a single. Grossman and Dozier combined again to drive Rodon from the game with a walk and an RBI single respectively. Only Grossman being confused by a Garcia bobble and then gunned down at third allowed Rodon to escape the game with the lead.
4. A two-out RBI single by Nunez tied the game up the next inning, and a rough day for Jose Abreu kept the drama going. He banged a two-out RBI single through the infield to score Adam Eaton on a hook slide in the third, but grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first, and struck out with Eaton and Tim Anderson in scoring position in the seventh.
5. Anderson collected yet another multi-hit game, and earned his first career walk.