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The White Sox’ first loss of 2018 was a very 2018 baseball game. The Sox outhit the Blue Jays 6-4, but the Jays outhomered the Sox 3-2.
That latter category loomed larger, as Danny Farquhar served up the two costly homers. He gave up a two-out, two-run blast to Russell Martin the seventh that gave Toronto the lead — it didn’t help that Luis Avilan walked Curtis Granderson in a lefty-lefty battle to put the tying run on base — and an eighth-inning leadoff homer to Aledmys Diaz that made a comeback even tougher for a White Sox offense that could only score on Welington Castillo solo shots.
At least Reynaldo Lopez threw down in his 2018 debut. He threw six strong innings, striking out six Jays while limiting them to a run on two hits and two walks.
It was an encouraging opener, as he came out showing a big fastball and effective slider command the first time through. That allowed him to save his changeup for the second time through.
Lopez’s command wobbled as the game advanced into the middle innings, but he threw enough strikes with all of his pitches to keep opponents from zoning in on any one element. Josh Donaldson was the only one who took advantage of Lopez’s misses. Castillo wanted a fastball in, Lopez threw it out, and Donaldson lifted it over the right field wall to tie the game at 1.
Crossing the plate, Donaldson grabbed his lips while looking at the White Sox dugout. The beat writers said it was likely taunting Daryl Boston, and his proclivity for blowing a whistle on great defensive plays. We’ll find out shortly whether the Sox took it in good fun, but Castillo made it a short-lived storyline when he started the seventh by knocking his second homer to center, giving the Sox a brief 2-1 lead.
(Update: There appears to be no bad blood, according to Daryl Van Schouwen’s recap.)
The White Sox had other chances, but they couldn’t string together quality plate appearances against Jaime Garcia and the Blue Jays bullpen. Garcia could only throw inside, but that didn’t stop hitters from getting jammed and swinging over backfoot breaking balls. The White Sox struck out 10 times on the evening, a big reason why they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
It wasn’t their finest night in other respects, either. Yolmer Sanchez made it to third base in the third inning by getting plunked, stealing second and taking third on a bad throw. Yet he hung himself off to dry on third base after Adam Engel grounded to third. Maybe he was trying to distract Yangervis Solarte’s throw home, but Solarte instead chased Sanchez toward home, costing the Sox 90 feet as well as an out.
Jose Abreu, the only non-Castillo hitter who looked hip to Garcia’s game plan, erased his single in the sixth inning by trying to take second on a flyball to left. Granderson threw him out by 15 feet.
Tim Anderson and Sanchez also mishandled a grounder apiece. The only other hit Lopez allowed was a one-hopper up the middle. Anderson shifted on it properly from the other side of second, but overran the spin on the ball. It could’ve been called an error had it not occurred in short center. Sanchez didn’t avoid the error label on a ball that skidded off the bottom of his glove.
Fortunately, neither play resulted in a run. Anderson in particular atoned by starting an inning-ending double play with a diving stab.
Record: 2-1 | Box score