There are a lot of individuals who could deserve blame for tonight’s fall-from-ahead loss.
On the pitching side, there’s Liam Hendriks, who might have to wear a “Property of Salvador Perez” shirt underneath his jersey after giving up a no-doubt fountain shot that tied the game at 2 in the ninth. Perez is now 8-for-11 off Hendriks lifetime, although this was his first homer.
There’s also Ryan Burr, who almost stranded the winning run at third base in the bottom of the 10th after a sacrifice bunt and a grounder to third. The subsequent rundown — which ended when Seby Zavala applied a tag on Andrew Benintendi that Kerwin Danley first missed — allowed Hunter Dozier to take second. Burr still got ahead of Michael A. Taylor 0-2, but his third cutter split the plate, and Taylor bisected the infield to score Dozier for the walk-off hit.
You could blame Leury García, who whiffed on Perez’s opposite-field fly to the right field corner to open the seventh inning. The leadoff “double” that came around to score on Jorge Soler’s double that cut the White Sox’s lead to 2-1, and that ended Lucas Giolito’s night after six innings plus two batters.
But you’re probably better off focusing on an entire unit. That would be the offense, which only scored two runs, and one was a gift. Andrew Vaughn, García and Mendick led off the fifth with three straight singles up the middle off Kris Bubic. Two runs came around to score on Mendick’s base hit, because when Perez took the throw home well in front of it to redirect the ball toward second, he didn’t cover the plate, and Whit Merrifield didn’t even look home while chasing Mendick back to first. García scored on brain fart for a 2-0 lead, and based on the way the offense executed the rest of the way, one can’t guarantee that he would’ve scored without Mendick’s scramble.
The White Sox offense managed just two hits around that flurry, even with an extra inning. Speaking of which, Gavin Sheets opened the 10th as the Manfred Man, but moved no further than second base. Yoán Moncada struck out, as did Billy Hamilton, who replaced Vaughn for defense in the ninth. Brian Goodwin came off the bench for Mendick and gave it a ride, but Taylor flagged it down on the warning track in left center for the final out.
The two people you can’t blame are Giolito, who threw six strong innings, allowing just four hits, a walk and a run that should’ve been unearned while striking out seven. He racked up 18 swinging strikes on just 80 pitches, including 12 on the slider.
And then there’s Aaron Bummer, who flashed a glimpse of an in-house upgrade. He entered the game with the tying run on third and nobody out after Soler doubled and advanced 90 feet when Tim Anderson’s attempt to cut off Vaughn’s throw glanced off his glove (Vaughn was charged with the error). He struck out Benintendi and Hanser Alberto, the latter requiring Seby Zavala to make a beautiful throw to first base after the slider escaped him. With two outs, Dozier grounded to short to preserve the 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, Hendriks couldn’t do the same when it was his turn, so here we are.
*Vaughn made one great catch in left, running into the chain-link fence after securing the ball. He also alligator-armed another ball on the warning track, then was charged with the throwing error that might’ve been Anderson’s fault. It hasn’t been his best work the last couple nights, which is why Tony La Russa called for Hamilton.
*Sheets made the final out in the ninth pinch-hitting for Eloy Jiménez, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout before leaving the game with right groin tightness. The Sox called it precautionary.
*Moncada was cut down at second by Perez after García swung and missed for strike three to end the seventh inning, nullifying his leadoff walk.
*The big-picture issue: