Somewhere on their way to a run of the mill loss to the AL East-leading Orioles centered on blowing opportunities to capitalize on three Baltimore errors in the first three innings, the Sox staged a dramatic near-comeback, allowing them to blow later, far more high-leverage opportunities.
1. Carlos Sanchez was already having a bad game, in the middle of a bad year, having misjudged or just dropped two soft pop-ups in short center on defense, so naturally his brief respite from a nightmarish 2016–an RBI double off the edge of Nolan Reimold‘s glove in right that plated the Sox third run of the inning, and brought them within 7-5 with the tying runs in scoring position–was short-lived. Having improbably rallied off Darren O’Day with the bottom of the order, Adam Eaton represented the White Sox best arming up to take control of the game, and yet he still chopped an easy grounder to first, which drew Sanchez off base, which in turn prompted a confused and slow Dioner Navarro to drift toward home. A not-so quick throw to third from Chris Davis was still quick enough to nab the glacial Navarro as he dove back to the base and ended the threat with a double play.
2. The comeback was set up by the seemingly tension-free situation of O’Day coming on in the eighth to protect a 7-2 lead, and instead allowing a ripped leadoff single to Jose Abreu, before O’Day walked Morneau and Todd Frazier to load the bases with no one out. The seemingly red hot Avisail Garcia was only able to chop a routine grounder to short, which the Orioles turned into a fielder’s choice, before Jonathan Schoop tossed a bounced feed to the right of first base that went down as Baltimore’s fourth error of the game, but the first that produced a Sox run. Two runners crossed to push the Sox to 7-4, leading up to Sanchez’s big, but not big enough hit.
3. Strangely enough, this long path to a comeback was built out of Robin Ventura conceding that a 4-2 deficit with the Orioles’ best relievers at the ready didn’t merit using Nate Jones (though he did warm him up multiple times). Tommy Kahnle came on instead and gave up hits to four of the five Orioles’ he faced–including a solo bomb to Pedro Alvarez–and was credited with three earned before Michael Ynoa could clean things up for him.
4. Coming off a dream-like month of July, Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez certainly didn’t have his best stuff Friday night. He hung a second inning curve for Alvarez’s first of two solo moonshots on the night, and struck out just one batter over six innings. Still, his night would have been a lot cleaner if not for Manny Machado following a cutter off the outer edge and drilling it for a two-run double to the right-center gap in the third, and Tyler Saladino‘s attempt a jump throw from the hole careening up the left field line and allowing Machado to jog home easily from third. Bad execution battled bad ideas to a gruesome draw all night for both clubs, but Saladino’s botched jump throw probably was trumped by Navarro trying to bunt for a base hit in the bottom half of the inning.
5. After going over 30 games without a home run, Abreu wasn’t willing to suffer even one night off Friday, slamming a Yovani Gallardo fastball well out to left in the fourth. He collected three hits on the evening, and Garcia slapped an RBI double, so it was a decent night for dreaming on scuffling hitters.
Team Record: 52-57
Next game is Saturday vs. Baltimore at 6:10pm CT on WGN
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