Perhaps this game breaks a different way if Wander Franco’s otherwise-routine grounder to third didn’t bounce off third base and over the head of Yoán Moncada for the game’s first run, followed by a legit Brandon Lowe double that gave the Rays a 3-0 lead before Dallas Keuchel could record a third out.
But that’s the kind of margin for error Keuchel works with these days, and it was further reduced by a lineup that lacked Tim Anderson and Luis Robert. The White Sox were able to make it respectable, but they never quite threatened to close the gap.
Keuchel ended up on the wrong side of the pitch-to-contact spectrum, especially since two of his three strikeouts came over the course of the first three batters of the game. The Rays made it 4-0 in the second on a walk, a seeing-eye single through the middle, a productive flyout and a productive groundout.
After Seby Zavala homered in the top of the third, the Rays got that run back in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Zunino tripled to left center on a horrible route by Brian Goodwin. Zunino scored on a single through the drawn-in infield. In the fifth, Franco reached on an infield single and scored on Manuel Margot’s double to left center.
The Sox were able to cut the Rays’ lead to 6-4 by the end of the eighth via José Abreu and Eloy Jiménez. Jiménez singled home Abreu in the top of the sixth, while both cashed in runs on outs in the eighth after César Hernández singled and Goodwin doubled to start the inning. But while they cut the lead to two, they never actually brought the tying run to the plate.
And they wouldn’t, because that’s when Mike Wright hit a wall. He opened what would’ve been his third inning of work by giving up a pair of doubles for one run, and a second run came home after a pair of productive outs to restore the four-run cushion. Jose Ruíz had to record the last two outs on the White Sox’s side.
*Jake Lamb had a day to forget as the only hitless White Sox. What’s more, he grounded into a double play to cut short a promising start to the second inning.
*Hernández made a slick pick on a hot shot by Nelson Cruz that kept a second run from scoring in the bottom of that inning.