White Sox 4, Orioles 3: Sweep avoided … barely

Dylan Cease set a career high in strikeouts over seven innings, and the White Sox backed him with their first homer since Monday. That combination set the stage for what appeared to be a pretty straightforward Sunday victory until José Abreu’s hands stopped working.

Abreu opened the ninth by committing errors on back-to-back grounders over the course of five Kendall Graveman pitches. The next four pitches loaded the bases with a walk, and a Jonathan Arauz single made it a 4-2 game.

Fortunately, Graveman recovered and found a way to get Baltimore hitters to expand the zone. He got Rouged Odor to go too far on a high fastball for the first out, negotiated a deep-but-playable sacrifice fly from Cedric Mullins, then ran inside sinkers on Trey Mancini until he tipped a third strike into Seby Zavala’s mitt to end the game.

However it happened, the White Sox were able to end their four-game losing streak while still preserving the win for Cease, who improved to a team-best 6-3.

Cease opened the game by striking out the side, and outside of a slider that Arauz dropped the barrel on for a solo shot in the third inning, he maintained the upper hand through seven innings. He allowed just three other hits and a walk while striking out 13, getting 21 whiffs over 101 pitches. He led with the slider (48 of them), but he was able to pair it with 15 curveballs that accounted for two whiffs and five called strikes, which kept the Orioles from reading the spin.

Like Lance Lynn the day before, Cease headed back out for a seventh inning, but there was no such argument about when to pull him. The first three Orioles attacked the first pitch, and while Adley Rutschman doubled on his with one out, the other three Baltimore batters flied out to Luis Robert in center to minimize the drama. The whole thing consumed only seven pitches.

Cease also had a three-run lead to work with. Gavin Sheets provided half of the White Sox’s output with one swing in the second inning, following Abreu’s leadoff single by clubbing a hanging 1-2 slider from Jordan Lyles into fancy seats in right field for a 2-0 lead.

When Arauz answered with his solo shot in the top of the third, Lenyn Sosa made up for it with a rookie run of his own. He slashed the first pitch of the bottom of the third inside first base for a double and his first career hit, took third on a flyout, then scored on Andrew Vaughn’s sac fly. Abreu then scored his second run an inning later, starting off with a walk, advancing to second on a two-out Josh Harrison infield single, then scoring on Seby Zavala’s sharp single to left.

Abreu was running better, but then his catching got away from him.

Ryan Mountcastle opened the ninth by hitting Graveman’s first pitch to the hole on the left side. Tim Anderson made a spectacular backhand pick and leaping cross-body throw that got to Abreu in the air … and Abreu dropped it.

No worries. Graveman came back by getting a chopper from Rutschman to first base. Abreu looked to second before looking the ball into his mitt, then started running to first despite lacking the handle. The ball trickled away from him as he approached the bag, and the Orioles had a rally out of nothing. Graveman was able to limit the bleeding, keeping the conversation to “at least the Sox didn’t get swept” instead of “at least the Sox didn’t get swept that way.”

Bullet points:

*The White Sox’s top three hitters combined to go 0-for-11, although Mullins robbed Vaughn of extra bases with a fantastic diving catch.

*Harrison started in left field because Adam Haseley was under the weather, and he had previous success against Lyles. It worked out OK, and he was subbed out for AJ Pollock to start the eighth.

*Jake Burger had an eighth inning to forget. He boxed a grounder in the top of the frame (it would’ve been a tough play), then grounded into a bases-loaded double play to end the bottom of it.

*Both starters went seven innings, which helped the game finish in a breezy 2 hours and 35 minutes despite the late complications.

Record: 34-37 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Augusto Barojas

Winning one of 4 at home against the Orioles isn’t too bad. They are one of the best last place teams.

itaita

Jokes aside i do think they would be leading the AL Central if they played in it. The Al East is never a series off.

Also, i know its real early and we’ll see how it progresses when other teams get more of a scouting report on him but all the Sosa’s at-bats ive seen he doesn’t look completely lost or overmatched to me. Or maybe he is but he looks less lost then other guys in the lineup! So thats a positive.

tommytwonines

+15 likes, odd

Holland23

There is nothing else to like as a Sox fan

tommytwonines

It’s fishy considering there are only two other comments (not including mine). Never seen anything like that here.