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Another day, another hard-fought victory over the Tigers courtesy of another game-winning single by Andrew Vaughn.
Vaughn came through in two outs in the seventh inning for the second straight night. This time, he stayed on a Joe Jimenez slider and bouncing it back through the middle to score José Abreu that put the Sox ahead for good. Reynaldo López pitched a scoreless eighth and Liam Hendriks worked around a single and a walk in the ninth, with an AJ Pollock solo shot providing a cushion.
Lucas Giolito ended up getting the win, which didn’t seem all that likely when the White Sox fell behind 3-1 after two, and 4-3 after three. The three-spot in the second inning all happened after two outs, and it involved a 3-2 pitch he didn’t get, a bleeder through the middle and a bases-clearing double that Eloy Jiménez followed poorly until it bounced on the warning track.
The fourth run was a more traditional quick hit, as Giolito gave up a one-out single and an RBI double to Eric Haase. Considering Giolito needed a brilliant play from Yoán Moncada to escape danger in the first — he dived to catch Harold Castro’s liner, then caught Javier Báez miles away from first base for a double play — it had all the makings of a limited and frustrating night.
But then Giolito retired the next 12 he faced, and when Akil Baddoo singled with one out in the top of the seventh, he rebounded by snagging Riley Greene’s comebacker and starting a 1-6-3 double play. He needed only 39 pitches to navigate through his final four innings, giving him a reasonable pitch count of 92 over seven innings.
The White Sox offense was similarly resilient, at least early. They scored first, capitalizing on the same situation the Tigers had (runners on the corners, one out) with an Abreu sac fly. When the Tigers responded with three, the Sox answered with two. Gavin Sheets thwarted the shift with a double where a third baseman would usually stand, scored on Leury García’s single, and then García scored after a Josh Harrison single and a Pollock sac fly.
When the Tigers reclaimed the lead in the top of the third, the Sox retied it by the bottom of the fourth. García led off with a single, and when Matt Manning responded with two outs over four pitches, he then walked Moncada to extend the inning. That’s when Jiménez extended his hitting streak with a single to center that made it 4-4.
Both offenses then went dormant until Abreu generated a threat with his legs. He reached on an infield single when Javier Báez couldn’t come up cleanly with a sliding stop. Abreu grimaced as he stepped on first, but perhaps he was hustling in the other fashion, for when Yasmani Grandal followed with a deep drive to center, Abreu tagged up and tested Riley Greene’s arm.
Greene made a strong throw, and Báez made one of his quick tags, but Abreu was called safe at second, and it withstood a lengthy review. Báez definitely would’ve had Abreu out if he kept the tag on him, because the force of Abreu’s slide carried him past the base ever so slightly, but he was busy telling the Tiger dugout to review the play.
Either way, Abreu’s legs were fine, and he had no problem sprinting home when Vaughn bounced the breaking ball through the middle. A.J. Hinch then was ejected during the pitching change for debating the reviewed call with second-base umpire Jerry Layne, and pretty quickly at that.
*López pitched on back-to-back nights while Kendall Graveman did not, with Joe Kelly still unavailable. He topped 100 once, and rounded up to 100 with his final pitch (99.7).
*García went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, which is a valuable performance when Lenyn Sosa is struggling.
*The Sox gained a game on Cleveland, and are now 2½ back.
*The game only took two hours and 46 minutes despite 24 hits (20 singles), which is some good pace of play.