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The White Sox trailed 4-0 after four batters, and 7-2 after five.
And somehow, that headline is indeed the final score.
Avisail Garcia kept the door open with a game-tying homer off Cincinnati closer Raisel Iglesias in the ninth, and Yoan Moncada knocked it down with a bases-clearing triple to win it in the 12th.
The Reds’ defense was begging the Sox to take it. They extended the previous inning by misplaying a Daniel Palka chopper to load the bases, but Scooter Gennett got in front of Kevan Smith’s hard grounder to end it. When Tim Anderson hit another one toward second to start the 12th, Gennett couldn’t get in front of it without bringing the infield lip into the play, and the ball scooted past him for an inning-opening error.
Anderson stole second on a pitchout, although Matt Davidson’s subsequent walk diminished the impressiveness a little. Adam Engel successfully bunted both runners over, and then reached himself when he jarred the ball loose from Gennett’s glove at first. The throw from third baseman Eugenio Suarez was into the baseline, and Engel, running on the inside of the line, punched the ball out with his natural arm swing.
Omar Narvaez came to the plate with the bases loaded, but his smoked liner found Joey Votto’s mitt for one out. Then it was Moncada’s turn, and he worked a 3-0 count from Jackson Stephens. He made Stephens prove he could throw one strike, and when he came with a second fastball, even though it was a little off the plate inside, Moncada wasn’t going to set himself up for more two-strike bad luck. He turned on it and raked it into the right-field corner to score all three runners.
Moncada came home a batter later. After pulling back on a safety squeeze to fall behind 0-2, Yolmer Sanchez stayed with a slow curve and lofted it to right field. Brandon Dixon gave it all he had and robbed Sanchez of a homer, but he also played it into a triple. Dixon caught the ball while it was over the fence, but the contact with the wall separated his glove from his hand, and then the ball separated from the glove. Both fell back into fair territory, and Sanchez made it to third with an RBI triple, giving the Sox a 12-8 lead.
The Sox couldn’t score Sanchez, because the Reds walked the bases loaded to bring Hector Santiago to the plate, and Santiago grounded into a double play. It didn’t matter, because Santiago struck out the side for the second time in as many innings to close out his own win.
That thrilling turn was made possible because Bruce Rondon actually threw a full scoreless inning. Or maybe it’s Garcia’s sudden power surge. He’s pulling fastballs like never before, and this was an 0-1 inner-half heater that he sent into the second deck to tie the game at 8. (Jason Benetti’s home run call was his best yet.)
Had Garcia come up empty, the story was going to be Billy Hamilton’s game-changing speed. He led off the eighth with a single against Jace Fry, and moved to second on a bunt, which didn’t seem to be the best use of his wheels. He was just saving his energy for the other 180 feet. He stole third on Fry, who would’ve had Hamilton picked off had he looked back one more time, because Tim Anderson was standing on second. Then, when Anderson stopped a grounder while playing in, he checked Hamilton multiple times. However, he couldn’t stop Hamilton from running, and he broke for home as Anderson fired to first. Matt Davidson made a quick throw home, but it was a little high, and Kevan Smith couldn’t slap down a tag before Hamilton’s hand hit the plate.
It was a deflating moment, because the Sox spent the first eight innings digging out of an early hole.
This game could’ve been a snoozer, because Lucas Giolito had his usual inauspicious start. The Reds assaulted him with a triple, homer, walk and homer, building a 4-0 lead over just 15 pitches. Jesse Winker then doubled to force Don Cooper to visit the mound, and Giolito got out of the inning.
The Sox cut that lead in half in the fourth, as Palka followed a Garcia single with a two-run shot off Anthony DeSclafani. But the Reds answered an inning later with a third homer off Giolito — this one a three-run shot that made it a 7-2 game.
But the Sox answered immediately, and resoundingly. With one out, Garcia and Palka went back-to-back off DeSclafani, and Smith chased him from the game with an infield single. Michael Lorenzen couldn’t stop the bleeding, because Anderson pushed a single through the right side, and Davidson launched a double off the wall in right to make it a 7-5 game. Engel took advantage of the infield back with a grounder to third that scored Anderson.
They couldn’t tie it that inning, but they reached that summit two innings later. Smith’s second infield single of the game started it, and he moved to second on a groundout. After a Davidson walk, Smith moved to third on Engel’s flyout to right, and Rick Renteria called for Leury Garcia to pinch-hit for Rondon, who survived two baserunners and a deep flyball for a scoreless seventh.
He fell behind 1-2, but he took one David Hernandez curveball and fought off another. When Hernandez tried to sneak a fastball by him, Garcia was ready. With a choked-up grip and a short swing, he shoved a line drive over the head of Gennett for a game-tying single. Moncada then had his first chance to break open the game, but he was called out on a questionable checked swing that temporarily extended his streak of bad luck.
*Jose Abreu sat the game to start due to a sore ankle, but he pinch-hit for Joakim Soria in the 10th, grounding out.
*Renteria emptied the bench, but he managed the game well despite all the subbing. He used Jace Fry for two, used Soria in a tie game, then double-switched in Santiago to give the Sox some length in extras.
*Avi Garcia and Palka were formidable in the middle of the order without Abreu, going 5-for-12 with four homers, five runs and five RBIs from the third and fourth spots.
*Giolito’s ERA rose to 6.93 with this ugly line: 5 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 3 HER
*The Reds committed four errors to Chicago’s one. That was Sanchez, who misplayed a chopper by DeSclafani in the fifth. It only cost Giolito two pitches.
Record: 30-55 | Box score