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Running themes collided as the White Sox sank to 0-5 at home, the first such start since 1975.
No. 1: Carson Fulmer running hot and cold.
Since Fulmer surprised with his performance against the Blue Jays, his track record suggested today’s performance would be a letdown. Sure enough, Fulmer issued six walks and plunked two batters on top of five hits over 4⅔ innings. A five-pitch second inning offered hope that he’d righted himself after a shaky first, but poor control ruled the day, and he worked slower and slower as he realized his feel wasn’t coming to him.
It could’ve been worse. Fulmer allowed four runs, but he stranded six runners over the first four innings, and Hector Santiago was able to leave them loaded by recording the last out of the fifth.
It also could’ve been better, because…
No. 2: More rough defense from the usual sources.
… Fulmer helped out his own cause when he picked off Daniel Robertson after a walk to lead off the third. The problem? Tim Anderson didn’t look the throw into his glove as he started chasing Robertson back, it glanced off, and Robertson returned safely despite slipping. It wasn’t called an error.
He ended up coming around to score, along with Denard Span, after Nicky Delmonico charged over Joey Wendle’s single. That was an error.
No. 3: Blake Snell against the White Sox.
Snell entered the game having allowed just one unearned run against the White Sox over 9⅓ innings. The Sox did get him for one run over six innings, but Tyler Saladino was the only one who could come up with a hit against him, breaking up the no-hitter with a one-out double in the fifth inning. It bounced over the fence, which prevented Delmonico scoring from first after his leadoff walk, but Adam Engel was able to nudge him home with a productive groundout to second.
The White Sox made Snell throw a ton of pitches — 114 over six innings — but he managed to get strikeouts (10) when the Sox could’ve used a hit. That prolonged the biggest issue for the White Sox over the last week…
No. 4: RISP problems.
Through eight innings, the White Sox were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Avisail Garcia once again had the worst day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with four stranded.
Meanwhile, the Rays found ways to tack on insurance runs. Carlos Gomez took Hector Santiago deep in the sixth for a solo shot to regain the run scored on Engel’s groundout. Gregory Infante walked Mallex Smith to start the ninth, and when Omar Narvaez cut him down, Infante replaced him by walking Wilson Ramos. That one stayed put, and eventually scored after Infante gave up back-to-back singles.
It looked like insult to injury, what with the Rays extending their lead to 6-1 with three outs to play. But that insurance run ended up mattering because …
No. 5: Ricky’s boys didn’t quit.
Kevin Cash tried to get by with Ryan Weber, but he had to call for his closer after just one out. Anderson led off with a double over third base, stole third for some reason and scored on a Yolmer Sanchez sac fly.
Wendle booted Leury Garcia’s first-pitch grounder to allow the Sox to restart a rally, and Yoan Moncada extended it with a walk.
That’s when Alex Colome came in, and he got Avisail Garcia to swing at three low and away sliders, and he tapped the third back to the mound. Jose Abreu wasn’t much more selective, but he was better at anticipating location. When Colome threw him a slider just below the zone, Abreu dug it out and muscled it over the center field wall for a three-run shot that narrowed Tampa Bay’s lead to 6-5.
Matt Davidson’s third walk of the game brought the winning run to the plate. Ideally it would’ve been Welington Castillo, but he tweaked his knee earlier in the game
on a swing throwing out a runner at second, and Narvaez had to replace him. Narvaez doesn’t have the same extra-base potential, but he gave it what he had by squaring up an elevated slider. He just didn’t get enough loft on it, and Smith caught the liner in right field to end the game.
*Despite the late rally, the White Sox were still just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
*Saladino’s first two hits of the season were the Sox’ only two hits over the first 6⅔ innings. He also made a slick stab at third base to give the Sox a better defensive showing.
*Anderson is 6-for-6 stealing bases this year.
*Aaron Bummer had his best outing of the season, striking out both batters he faced after inheriting two runners from Infante.
*The teams combined for 17 walks and 345 pitches thrown. Somehow Gary Cederstrom’s strike zone got better as the game went on.
*Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit shirts are a hit, and you can buy them here.
— Mr. Lockwood (@TweeterLockwood) April 10, 2018
Record: 3-7 | Box score