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It’s not often you see a team win a battle of the bullpens when its relief corps suffers greater damage in the late innings. Then again, you normally don’t see Dylan Covey get knocked out after 3⅔ and still qualify as the better starting pitcher of the night, and with room to spare.
The White Sox thrashed a couple of soft-tossing lefties en route to an 8-3 lead through four, which was a big enough cushion to absorb Covey’s customary struggles and more late-inning wobbles from Rick Renteria’s previously two most reliable relievers.
The White Sox offense strung together rope after rope against Yusei Kikuchi, pummeling him for 10 hits and five runs over 2⅓ innings. They put 14 balls in play against Kikuchi, and from the final out of the first inning on, the White Sox hit every ball hard. The exit velocities:
- 111.3 (Jose Abreu homer)
- 111.7 (Yoan Moncada triple)
- 100.4 (Danny Mendick RBI single)
- 100.0 (Adam Engel solo homer)
The White Sox weren’t any kinder to Wade LeBlanc. They scored eight runs through four despite Quinn Wolcott’s expansive, lopsided strike zone and two outs on the basepaths. Engel was picked off and collided awkwardly at second with shortstop J.P. Crawford …
… while Mendick was cut down trying to stretch a single into a double by Shed Long on a fantastic throw.
Covey, who opened the game by issuing three consecutive one-out walks and seeing two of them score on a sac fly and a single, avoided further trouble until the fourth, when he gave up three singles over the first four batters to make it an 8-3 game. Fortunately, Seattle’s lineup was lefty-heavy enough to make Josh Osich’s job rather easy. He carried the game through six scorelessly, running his record to 3-0 in the process.
Aaron Bummer walked a pair in the eighth — Zack Collins couldn’t get the same strike zone for his pitchers that the superior receiver Tom Murphy got for his pitchers — and they both came around to score when Colomé gave up a two-run pinch-hit double to Daniel Vogelbach making it a one-run game. A flyout ended the inning, and Eloy Jiménez slashed a liner into the right-field seats for a welcome insurance run.
*Moncada came about 10 feet short of the cycle, as his deep fly to left center fell into a glove at the front of the warning track in the ninth. He ended up going 3-for-5 with four RBIs. All his hits were from the right side, including a bases-clearing double on a 3-0 count.
*Tim Anderson went 2-for-5 to improve his average to .334.
*Collins was the only White Sox without a hit, as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He did hit a couple of flies well, but Mallex Smith made a leaping catch on the warning track to take away a double. Behind the plate, he fared better on pitches in the dirt than he did his last time out.
*Leury García reached on an error for the 10th time this season, which isn’t reflected in his OBP but should be considered.