The White Sox are having a bad season, but at least they’re not the Orioles.
Still, this game, like their winning percentages, are a little too close for comfort.
Some sloppy Baltimore defense early put tonight on track for a laugher. Some sloppy Sox defense made it close late. Together, they showed the baseball world why they couldn’t come up with 100 wins between them.
In the end, two White Sox firsts led to a third:
- Ryan Cordell’s first hit, which was also his first homer, gave the Sox some breathing room…
- … for Nate Jones, who recorded his first save since May 22, preserving …
- … James Shields’ first road win since Opening Day.
Shields did his thing, allowing just four hits and a walk over six innings. Two of those hits were Trey Mancini homers, but they came with nobody on base and accounted for the only runs on Shields’ tab.
He departed with a 7-2 lead, but Aaron Bummer and the White Sox defense threatened it immediately in the seventh. After striking out his first batter, Bummer and Jose Abreu crossed signals on a chopper toward first, resulting in nobody fielding it for an infield single. Bummer then gave up a single through the right side and nearly beaned DJ Stewart twice on a five-pitch walk.
Bummer gave way to Ian Hamilton, who couldn’t find his slider against a team that recognized that fact. Corban Joseph won a nine-pitch battle by singling a heater through the middle for two runs.
Hamilton then got Cedric Mullins to hit a grounder to the right side. Mullins’ speed would’ve made a double play a tall order, and Yoan Moncada seemed to know that. He rushed the motion to second, then fumbled an attempt to recover and throw to first, resulting in 7-5 game and a five-out inning.
Still without his slider, Hamilton walked Jonathan Villar on nine pitches to load the bases. Adam Jones worked a 2-1 count and lifted a high fly to right, which Avisail Garcia caught on the warning track for the sorely needed second out, even if everybody tagged up. That made it a 7-6 game and put the go-ahead run on second, but Hamilton came back to strike out Mancini to end the inning.
Cordell struck with one out in the eighth. Tanner Scott missed with the first three, and Cordell watched a fastball for strike one. When Scott piped another fastball, Cordell got it all. It took him 16 at-bats for his first hit, but he made it count and gave the Sox a cushion. Jace Fry and Nate Jones both enjoyed it by working around a runner on.
Over the first two-thirds of this game, the White Sox looked like they found a team they could pick on. They grabbed a quick lead on their own merit — Yoan Moncada slashing a ground-rule double into the left-field corner and scoring on a two-out Daniel Palka opposite-field single.
The Orioles only had themselves to blame for the majority of the other runs they allowed.
In the second, Tim Anderson reached with one out when Renato Nunez couldn’t come up cleanly with a charging play from third base. Nicky Delmonico tripled him home, and it would’ve been a double if Mullins didn’t get caught too close to the wall. The extra 90 feet mattered because Delmonico ended up scoring when Moncada beat a rather casual Luis Ortiz to first on his chopper to Chris Davis. Davis lost the footrace and nearly collided with Ortiz, who planted his leg awkwardly as he sidestepped the mess. Ortiz departed one batter later with the trainer.
In the third, Omar Narvaez followed a Garcia walk with a two-run blast over the wall in right center for a 5-1 lead, which answered Mancini’s first homer.
After Mancini’s second solo shot in the bottom of the fourth, Garcia answered himself. Daniel Palka reached on a weird topspin-laden line drive that short-hopped past shortstop Jonathan Villar, and Garcia jumped on Jimmy Yacabonis’ first pitch for a two-run job and a 7-2 lead.
Palka and Garcia both had productive days, with three hits, three runs, three RBIs and two walks between them. They covered for Jose Abreu, who went 0-for-5 from the third spot. He’s still in search of the timing he had before the surgery.
*Yolmer Sanchez was briefly called for interference on a slide at second base that almost resulted in an inning-ending double play on Abreu’s tab. Rick Renteria challenged the ball, and it was correctly overturned, as Sanchez’s feet first slide, while toward the third-base side of second, still left him practically sitting on top of it.
*Moncada reached base four times — 3-for-4 with a walk — and also avoided striking out, which is key as he tries to dodge that record.
*The White Sox used five mound visits, including four during the seventh inning alone.
*The official attendance was 18,265, although with two bad teams and a persistent mist throughout the game, the stands reflected a third of that at most.
Record: 58-89 | Box score
Moncada’s OPS back over .700. Here’s hoping for a strong finish and a solid springboard into next season.