While the White Sox’ two wins over Baltimore in this series haven’t come easy, it could be because easy wins against the Orioles don’t exist for this club.
Tonight’s hard-fought victory secured the Sox’ first season series victory over the Orioles since 2008. They’re 4-2 against Baltimore this year. In 2008, they were 5-4.
In between? The White Sox were 26-39, including an 11-21 mark at Oriole Park. They were 0-7-2 in the season series.
So it makes sense that the White Sox labored to reach this summit this weekend. Reynaldo Lopez gutted through a seventh scoreless inning to make one run of support hold up (Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez coming through with back-to-back doubles with two outs in the sixth). Avisail Garcia added insurance with a ninth-inning solo shot, which made Juan Minaya’s two baserunners in the ninth a little easier to take as he wended his way to a four-out save.
Lopez was the story. He has allowed just one earned run over 20 September innings, this time striking out six to just four singles and a walk. His night started with a leadoff single, but he erased it with a double play to start a run of seven consecutive hitters retired. When a two-out single broke up that streak, he retired the next six.
He only faced his true test in the seventh, when Trey Mancini shot a single to right and Chris Davis walked on six pitches. That’s when Lopez’s pace slowed to a crawl as he locked horns with Tim Beckham, but after Beckham watched a 2-2 fastball out of the zone, then fouled off a changeup and two fastballs, Lopez came through with a perfect slider on the 10th pitch for the swinging strikeout.
He punched his glove in celebration, but he still had one more batter to go. Renato Nunez only used up four of Lopez’s pitches, popping up a 2-1 fastball to Jose Abreu to end the threat.
Outside of those sixth-inning doubles that knocked him from the game in the sixth, Yefri Ramirez was just as tough. He faced the minimum through four, and only Welington Castillo’s two-out walk in the fifth snapped that run. Even when Tim Anderson reached on an infield single to start the sixth, Caleb Joseph cut him down to re-clear the bases. It looked like a big deal when Moncada doubled to right, but Sanchez made it left so by dropping his own double inside the left-field foul line.
Joseph thwarted all three of the Sox’ stolen-base attempts. He gunned down Adam Engel in the third and eighth innings around Anderson’s unsuccessful attempt.
The Sox had to get their insurance the easier way. With two outs in the ninth, Garcia turned on a spinning Mychal Givens slider that hung inside off the plate and socked it well out to left for his second homer in as many games.
This is why I like watching the Orioles' feed. Their camera work is a cut above what the Sox do. pic.twitter.com/lv674tQAcY
— Jim Margalus 🥌 (@SoxMachine) September 16, 2018
Record: 59-89 | Box score