Sometimes it’s hard to remember that for all their frustrating flaws, the Sox aren’t much worse than an average team, and get to have fun nights too. This was a fun night!
With Anthony Ranaudo filling in for a spot start against verified stud Carlos Carrasco, facing an Indians team that had defeated the Sox seven times in a row and in Cleveland to boot, this was a night to brace for the South siders getting vaporized. Even a surprising offensive effort left them facing a two-run ninth inning deficit, with Cody Allen facing the bottom of the order, and yet that’s when the real madness began.
1. There’s an argument to be made that hanging a curveball to Adam Eaton with the bases loaded and the Indians clinging to a 7-6 lead with one out, was the only mistake Allen made in his night as the goat. The pint-sized Sox outfielder opened up and pulled the decisive blast so easily into the right field bleachers that he blew a bubble with his gum as his bat whistled through the zone.
Allen was immediately pulled after giving the game away, but the Sox had preceded the fatal wound with measly papercuts. Todd Frazier reached with one out on an infield single deep into the hole at shortstop, and was granted second when Francisco Lindor‘s very late throw to first sailed into the dugout. The throw took the Indians out of double play depth, so when J.B. Shuck bounced another hard grounder up the middle, Jason Kipnis only had an off-balance throw to first as a play. If Allen hadn’t already figured the fates were against him, Tim Anderson taking a close pitch on 3-2 to walk the bases loaded, and Dioner Navarro‘s weak pop to shallow left glancing off Jose Ramirez‘s glove and landing to plate Frazier and set up Eaton, surely clued him in.
2. Dealing with plenty of his own doubts these days, David Robertson pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 30th save, but only after coming from 0-2 to walk leadoff man Mike Napoli, and allowing a one-out single to Lonnie Chisenhall. Both Rajai Davis and Brandon Guyer strode to the plate representing the tying run, but Robertson blew a high fastball by Davis, and an eight-pitch war with Guyer ended with him chopping out to Frazier to end it.
3. Guyer had put the Indians up, seemingly for good in the fifth, when he punched an inside fastball from Michael Ynoa to right-center with two on and two out. Coming in for Ranaudo after four innings to protect a 5-5 tie, Ynoa showed early promise by blowing away Napoli on three fastballs, but failed to finish the inning after a four-pitch walk to Ramirez and a single to Tyler Naquin both came around to score. Ynoa was the first of five relievers of the night, as Tommy Kahnle, Dan Jennings, Jacob Turner and Robertson combined to hold the Indians scoreless over the final 4.1 innings.
4. Sox hitting was surprisingly effective against Carrasco while also being completely vaporized for 11 strikeouts over 6.2 innings. Anderson put Chicago on the board by lifting a fastball impossibly high and off the near top of the left field foul pole to knot the game a 2-2 in the third. When the Indians added two more, the heart of the order jumped into action in the fourth to respond. Jose Abreu jumped on a hanger and lined a single to left, and was followed by Justin Morneau spraying a double to the same side. Frazier turned around a high fastball off the top of the wall in left-center, and the Sox had suddenly tied the game at 4-4 on three-straight hits.
Frazier almost got thrown out trying to round home on a Shuck grounder that went through Kipnis’ legs–but not very far–before the Indians got too tied up running down Shuck to stop Frazier from scooting home to give the Sox a brief 5-4 lead, which they lost in the bottom of half of the inning.
5. Anthony Ranaudo twirled a perfect first, but it was pretty much open season on him after that. Chisenhall snuck a two-run blast off him down the line in the second, Carlos Santana launched his 26th home run of the season to lead off the third inning, and Ranaudo was pulled after eight hits and five earned runs, and struck out two of the 21 batters he faced in four innings.
Team Record: 57-62
Next game is Thursday at Cleveland on CSN at 6:10pm CT
Lead Image Credit: David Richard // USA Today Sports Images