The legend of Daniel Palka grows.
For the third time in a month that’s only 10 days old, Palka hit the game-winning homer in the late innings.
This one was his first Palk-off, as he opened the bottom of the ninth of a scoreless game against Neil Ramirez. Palka fouled back a high fastball, took a slider in the dirt, then took an excellent backdoor slider to get backed up against the ropes, 1-2.
Ramirez then went back to the high heat, and it wasn’t a bad pitch. Vertically, it was at the top of the zone. Horizontally, it was off the plate. Palka, who naturally looks away, reached out and basically flicked it. Not knowing his own strength, it went 389 feet, several rows into the left-field bleachers for the game-winning shot.
Entering the ninth, Palka’s night represented the White Sox offense’s as a whole. Just like before his go-ahead shot against Tampa Bay, he’d struck out in all of his plate appearances — three instead of four this time.
The rest of the lineup wasn’t much better. They only came up with four hits against Shane Bieber and the Indians bullpen, and managed to spoil their better starts to innings in frustrating ways.
In the fifth, Yoan Moncada led off with a double, but couldn’t advance. Ryan LaMarre struck out after trying to get the runner over, including a bunt attempt on 0-1. Nicky Delmonico struck out, and Yolmer Sanchez flied out to end the inning.
The eighth was more aesthetically displeasing. LaMarre redeemed himself with a terrific battle against Oliver Perez, who dumped out his entire bag of crafty lefty tricks over the course of eight pitches, only to give up a single to right. LaMarre didn’t get any further, either. Adam Engel came off the bench to foul off three bunt attempts for a strikeout, Sanchez struck out on three pitches and Jose Abreu’s flyball fell just short of the warning track in left center.
All’s well that ends well, as the Sox ended a three-game losing streak in dramatic fashion.
The only real downside is that Carlos Rodon only got a no-decision to show for his eight shutout innings. He walked two batters in the first inning, then didn’t issue another one the rest of the game.
Rodon limited the Indians to just four hits while striking out five, and while he gave up doubles to Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez in the third and sixth innings, they were with one out and nobody on.
Bieber proved just as game. He threw 6⅔ shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks. Moncada reached both times against him, walking the first time up and doubling the second. The rest of the lineup didn’t have his success.
Jace Fry ended up getting the win, recording the last two outs of a three-pitcher ninth. Xavier Cedeno walked the leadoff man, Juan Minaya got a fielder’s choice, and Fry recovered from a single by Yonder Alonso with an 11-pitch strikeout of Yan Gomes and a popout by Jason Kipnis.
*Moncada started in the eighth spot as Rick Renteria tried to give him some relief without a day off. He struck out looking on a fastball by Perez in his third and final plate appearance, perhaps bedeviled by Perez’s best Luis Tiant impression on the fastball in the zone.
*Moncada also waited back on a Rajai Davis chopper off the plate in the fifth when he had plenty of time to snag it on the hop. It resulted in a rushed throw and an “infield single,” but it led to no further damage.
*Rodon finished with a game score of 81, the third-best start of the year behind Reynaldo Lopez (84, May 20) and Dylan Covey (82, July 21). His ERA is now 2.61.
*Omar Narvaez allowed Michael Brantley to clip his glove on a two-strike slider to bring Jose Ramirez to the plate with a runner on in the eighth, but Ramirez flied out to right.
*I listened to the radio for the first 7½ innings while on the road, so if I missed any developments that Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson didn’t fill me in on, let me know.
Record: 42-73 | Box score
I was at the game and it was fun in the end. I really, really didn’t understand the third bad bunt attempt by Engel. I think Delmonico hitting would have been preferable to Engel bunting even if Engel could have gotten a bunt down against Perez. By the time Engel tried for the third time to bunt, it seemed pretty clear he was very unlikely to lay down a good bunt against Perez.
I calculated Rodon’s game score and got 77 not 81. I assume this is because game score has been modified from the old formula I know. I’m not a stat guy who keeps up but I did buy the Bill James Abstracts back in the 80’s. I think it’s interesting that even a stat I think of as new because I remember hearing about it for the first time as a grown-up is now obsolete and has been replaced.
Side note: Really enjoyed Benetti’s call on the Palk-Off. He’s really gotten better and better the more time he’s given in the booth.
Worth noting – Moncada’s double was on a 7 pitch at-bat where he started 0-2. He also fouled off 2 pitches before the double. Very positive sign.
You’re reaching. This team cannot hit. 11 more k’s.
How am I reaching? All I’m saying is that it was a good at-bat and a great job battling with 2 strikes, which is something we certainly haven’t seen much of from him.
And this is the first time I’ve ever down-voted a comment.
The next time that you say something insightful will be the first.
Engel was a pinch-bunter?
That was just stupid. He pinch bunt, which is stupid, for Delmonico, who is a good bunter, and he was unsuccessful.
It was his third try, I have a problem with.