It wasn’t easy, but the White Sox escaped Toronto with a win.
Credit Jose Abreu for taking the help he could get. For the second time in the season’s first five games, a White Sox hitter used a 3-0 count to put the team ahead. In this case, it was Abreu taking Ryan Tepera’s 3-0 fastball way out over the center field wall for a go-ahead solo shot that held up as the game-winner.
Nate Jones and Joakim Soria had to survive an array of fly balls to close it out. Leury Garcia changed the course of the game in a good way, bailing out Jones with a leaping catch at the wall, which took away extra bases from Justin Smoak to start the eighth. Garcia had just entered the game as a pinch runner in the top of the inning.
(Once again, Soria recorded the save, but Jones had the tougher job. He entered the game with two outs in the seventh to get Josh Donaldson, then had to face Toronto’s 3-4-5 in the eighth.)
The Sox needed Abreu to go deep because they once again had little luck with runners on base. They went just 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position while grounding into four double plays.
Even the hit required lawyering. Yoan Moncada came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded against Aaron Sanchez, who’d loaded the bases with a walk, single and HBP while arguing with home plate umpire Greg Gibson.
Moncada sent the first pitch he saw high to left field, sending Curtis Granderson all the way to the wall. Granderson leapt and came down without the ball in his glove … but the ball fell into his glove while he was on his back. Moncada was deprived a hit, and he didn’t even get the RBI because Welington Castillo was off third base and not in tagging position.
However, Rick Renteria came out to challenge, and he had a point. The replay showed that the ball hit the wall behind Granderson’s glove, meaning that the catch on the track didn’t count. After a review, Moncada was awarded an RBI single. It survived subsequent debate from Toronto manager John Gibbons, who wanted to know if Moncada passed Adam Engel at first base (he did, but after Moncada was ruled out).
Avisail Garcia then got plunked by a 1-0 pitch to bring another run home, but Abreu’s attempt to jump the first pitch resulted in a 4-6-3 double play.
Carson Fulmer pitched a scoreless fifth to keep it a 3-1 game, but he ran into problems an inning later. Donaldson singled to start the inning, and Smoak moved him to third with a laced double to right.
Rick Renteria called for Aaron Bummer to face Granderson, and Gibbons countered by sending Steve Pearce to the plate. Bummer ended up facing three righties and a switch-hitter, and he ended up giving up two RBI singles. (Yolmer Sanchez had prevented another run temporarily by getting Smoak at home on a chopper.)
Danny Farquhar came in to face Kevin Pillar and got an inning-ending groundout to short, and one wonders why that didn’t happen batters sooner. At least he managed the last three pitchers well.
Fulmer came away with the no-decision, but it was an encouraging outing on the whole. He allowed just one run through five innings, and that run was the result of quality damage control. He faced runners on second and third because both Adam Engel and Avisail Garcia dropped tough-but-catchable flyballs in center, both of which could’ve been called errors but were ruled doubles.
Fulmer settled down by getting a comebacker for the first out, a run-scoring groundout to short, and then striking out Kendrys Morales.
He also stranded a pair of runners in the first to show the ability to bear down, and he also breezed through the second, third and fifth innings. The line won’t impress you — 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K — but he pitched better than that.
Record: 3-2 | Box score