With one swing of the bat, the White Sox chased out some of the bad vibes from Saturday’s doubleheader.
With three more swings of the bat, the White Sox made history.
Yoán Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, José Abreu and Eloy Jiménez teamed up to hit four consecutive homers in the bottom of the fifth, which turned a potential nailbiter into an easy Sunday cruise. In the process, they dodged what could have been an embarrassing sweep and returned to .500.
Around those four swings, it could have been a more frustrating afternoon. The White Sox took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning with Eloy Jiménez’s RBI single scoring Tim Anderson, who singled to start the game. Dakota Hudson kept the ball and Sox offense grounded afterward,
Everything changed when Roel Ramirez entered the game in the fifth. Making his major league debut, Ramirez started his career with a strikeout, but the Sox backed him into a corner with a Nomar Mazara single, followed by a perfect hit-and-run with Danny Mendick. Then Mendick was caught stealing for no good reason with Tim Anderson at the plate, giving Ramirez an opening to wriggle off the hook.
But Ramirez couldn’t locate his breaking ball, and the Sox seemed to recognize that. Tim Anderson drew a walk to restore runners on the corners, and Yoán Moncada lured Ramirez into the zone for three fastballs. He took one, fouled off another, but he didn’t miss the third. Instead, he cranked it up the Goose Island Causeway for a three-run shot and a 4-0 lead that finally gave the Sox some breathing room.
Then two other Cubans homered. Yasmani Grandal waited for his fastball in the zone, and he sent the second pitch he saw the same way for a 5-0 lead. Up came José Abreu. Ramirez tried to flip the script with a get-me-over changeup on the first pitch, and Abreu ripped it over the wall in left for back-to-back-to-back homers.
And finally, Eloy Jiménez brought the first Roel to a close by crushing a hanging slider inside the left-field foul pole. Here’s what that looked like:
It’s just the 10th time in history that a team has hit four consecutive homers, and the second by the White Sox. They previously accomplished the feat on Aug. 14, 2008, and here’s what that looked like.
When play resumed with Seth Elledge on the mound, the party ended. Edwin Encarnación showed up expecting fastballs or rollers, and instead he struck out on three curveballs to bring the inning to a merciful end. The Sox didn’t threaten again.
They didn’t need to. Dallas Keuchel only struck out one batter, but he received plenty of support from his defense, with Moncada showing more life in his activity at third, Mendick coming up with a couple of tricky plays at second, and Abreu cutting down a runner at home. Keuchel just couldn’t quite close out the sixth after the long layoff, getting ahead of Matt Carpenter 0-2 before allowing a two-run single for the Cardinals’ only runs.
Regardless, Keuchel did his job. He’s given the Sox a chance to win in all five of his starts, and he now has three of them on his record.
*Luis Robert is no longer the only White Sox with a stolen base attempt. Besides Mendick’s hare-brained scheme, Anderson notched a successful steal in the first. Robert himself was cut down at second after reaching on a catcher interference.
*The White Sox went 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
Record: 11-11 | Box score | Statcast
Grandal raised an issue related to his offensive struggles.
With all the cheating that has been going on in recent years, video should not be available to players during the game.
I know this is hindsight and it feels silly to pick nits today. but between the long bottom of the 5th and Keuchel’s TTOP numbers, was bringing him back out for the 6th really necessary? I know his pitch count was low, but still.
Nine different relievers pitched yesterday. With a 7-run cushion, why wouldn’t you see if Dallas could give you another inning?
Keuchel is being paid enough that you should be able to expect him to go out there and give you some additional innings when he has a seven-run lead. With the way the game was progressing, I was disappointed that he wasn’t able to go at least seven or eight innings.
Twenty or 30 years ago, “five and fly” was a disparaging term used for a starter who did just enough to go the five innings needed to get a pitching victory. On Sunday, we really could have used more than what was just a little bit better than a “five and fly” effort from Dallas.
Still, he has given the team a chance to win in all of his starts this year, so he deserves credit for that.
Making playing decisions based on players’ salaries rather than strategy was the worst part of the late stage Guillen years.
An interesting tidbit: Moncada, Grandal, and Abreu are the first trio of players born in the same country, other than the USA, to hit consecutive homers in the Majors. Hard to do.
Hit and Run?
Yeah it made no sense for Mendick to be stealing a base under the circumstances. However, a hit and run might have made sense – watch Tim’s disgusted reaction with his bat after he walked. I think he missed the sign.
“First Roel” — great stuff, Jim
Silly me decided not to watch the game after the two game sweep last time out and missed out on history. Typical Sox making me suffer even when they do good things.
I had been glancing at gameday during an international family zoom get-together, and when the call finished I saw there were 2 on/2 out so I switched to TV viewing. Wow. Actually felt bad for the pitcher. and sad for the players that there was no crowd in attendance to go crazy like the other time. Definitely not a record you’d expect the good guys to own 20% thereof.