White Sox 4, Twins 1: Billy Hamilton’s rain-soaked catch steals Zack Collins’ thunder

White Sox outfielder Billy Hamilton
Jul 6, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; The Chicago White Sox bullpen celebrates outfielder Billy Hamilton (0) diving catch against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Collins wants you to trust that the White Sox are in good hands during the four to six weeks Yasmani Grandal is out with his knee injury.

He did what he could for one evening. He registered the only White Sox hit during José Berríos’ seven innings, but it scored two runs. In the eighth, his double opened a two-run blitz of former teammate Alex Colomé.

In between his hits, he caught six gritty innings from Carlos Rodón, followed by one inning of Michael Kopech and a six-out save for Liam Hendriks. That kind of aggressive closer deployment made the extra runs unnecessary, although maybe you can give Billy Hamilton the credit there.

It wasn’t pretty — it rained the entire game and there was standing water on the field over the last two innings — but the White Sox ended a three-game losing streak and gained a half-game on Cleveland, whose game in Tampa Bay was postponed by a tropical storm.

On another day, the story could’ve been Berríos overwhelming al lineup mourning the loss of Grandal. Minnesota’s best starter struck out 10 while allowing just a hit and three walks over seven innings. He had far better stuff than he showed the last time the Sox saw him.

One mortal inning spoiled his night. After striking out the side in the first, he opened the second with walks to Brian Goodwin and Leury García. Two misplays exacerbated the issue. First, Ryan Jeffers threw to second on ball four to García because Goodwin was in motion and the pitch was borderline. Andrelton Simmons made a piss-poor attempt to stop it, and Goodwin took third as the ball trickled into center. Berríos responded with a strikeout of Gavin Sheets and a shallow flyout from Andrew Vaughn, but even then, Max Kepler’s throw to nobody escaped Miguel Sanó on the cutoff attempt, allowing García to take third.

That moved both runners into scoring position, and while it also opened a base to bypass the lefty Collins for the righty Danny Mendick, Berríos challenged Collins. He lost. Collins turned on an inside-corner sinker and lined it into center for a two-run lead.

Rodón also had one mortal inning over his six strong that was also marred by two misplays, but he limited the damage to one run in his final inning. He created his own problem by deflecting a bouncer back through the box that should’ve been an easy 6-3, but turned into a leadoff single instead. Jorge Polanco struck out, and Nelson Cruz hit a routine fly to right of center, but neither Adam Eaton nor Goodwin saw it. The camera tracked Goodwin as though it was his play, but the ball fell in front of Eaton, who appeared to be drifting aimlessly toward center. García ended up being the one to retrieve it, but both runners were safe by the time he could get the ball back.

When Alex Kirloff followed with a single through the middle to cut the Sox’s lead in half, it appeared that Rodón’s night was about to crash through the guard rail.

But the cool thing about 2021 Carlos Rodón is that he can break new ground on the radar gun at the end of his starts, which basically turns Hard Karl into his own reliever. Rodón escaped further damage by striking out Ryan Jeffers and Max Kepler with pure power — 100.4 mph past the former, and 100.1 mph to lock up the latter. Rodón came off the mound screaming and thumping his chest for a triumphant end to his night.

The win still wasn’t his, and a Sanó infield single off Michael Kopech to start the seventh opened that inning ominously. Yoán Moncada put out the fire with two above-average plays. First, his charging play on Trevor Larnach’s broken-bat shank over the pitcher’s mound got Kopech’s first out at first. Sanó moved to second, but when he tried to take third on Simmons’ grounder to the left side, Mendick threw to Moncada at third, who chased Sanó all the way back to second and tagged him with a diving effort that held up under review. The lack of an extra throw prevented Simmons from replacing Sanó at second, and Kopech ended the threat with a lineout to center.

Tony La Russa didn’t take any chances the rest of the way, handing the ball to Hendriks in the eighth inning because of the 2-3-4 spot in the order. Hendriks struck out the side, then came out for the ninth and retired the side in order, thanks to Hamilton making the catch of the year on Max Kepler’s one-out drive.

Sure, you already saw it, but it’s worth seeing again. And again.

Even if it turned into the second inside-the-park homer on Hamilton’s tab within a week, it wouldn’t have done damage. Three White Sox lefties greeted Colomé by turning into three baserunners on three pitches — Collins doubled, Eaton singled, and Yoán Moncada reached on another Simmons error, which pushed Eaton to third and him scoreable on a José Abreu sac fly.

Bullet points:

*Rodón heads to Colorado 7-3 with a 2.31 ERA.

*Hendriks threw just 27 pitches during his first-ever two-inning save, so the new ground didn’t tax him.

*Look at this catch again:

Record: 50-35 | Box score | Statcast

(Photo by Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports)

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Greg Nix

Did not expect Billy Hamilton to contribute so much fun to this season.


Amen to that. He is so joyful out there. What a great teammate.


Also, I love seeing Timmy having fun with Hamilton in the dugout. Let’s keep Tim happy, because a happy Tim can make the 162 game slog a lot more fun for the team and the fans.


I watched that Billy Hamilton clip at least a dozen times tonight. Then 3 more thanks to this recap.


Rodón throwing 100 in the 6th was a sight to behold. I wonder how many starters have thrown 100 mph pitchers in the 6th or later this season. I really hope they re-sign him.


what kind of contract do you offer a guy with ace potential but his injury history? and what kind of contract does that player want? I see it being very tough to do.


I think you make him a qualifying offer. That part is easy.


That was an absolutely gutty win for the Sox. Rodon is a bulldog, Zach Collins came up huge, Liam Hendriks was lights out, and when he wasn’t, Billy Hamilton makes the catch of the year. It was so great to see the players reactions as they walked past LaRussa after the game. They really seem to love him, and they are just playing so hard for him. And his comments, both before and after the game, show that he is not going to let this team feel sorry for themselves because of all the injuries. Everybody contributes, and when someone slips, there is always someone else to pick them up. That is the sign of a championship team.


Eaton DFA’d to make room for Engel…


How does someone go from batting leadoff to DFA’d over the course of a few hours?

Of course they should have DFA’d him. What I can’t figure out is what Tony was thinking when he decided to bat him first yesterday.