Pedro Grifol had the right idea.
By getting ejected in the third inning, he missed most of Dane Dunning retiring 21 batters in a row.
He did have to watch Dylan Cease throw 79 pitches over 1⅔ innings, including a 45-pitch second. The Rangers sent 10 batters to the plate, nine of whom faced Cease. Cease fell behind most of them, and even if he did get ahead, he couldn’t put them away. Cease ended up allowing 11 baserunners — seven hits, three homers, one HBP — over the course of five outs.
Had Grifol known the game was over two batters into the bottom of the first, perhaps he wouldn’t have worked Cease so hard.
The White Sox offense actually had an encouraging start, loading the bases with two singles and a walk after two outs before Andrew Vaughn shot a 107-mph grounder to first to end the inning. But then Marcus Semien opened Texas’ attack by singling on a 2-2 slider over the middle of the plate, and Corey Seager jumped on top of a high curve to give the Rangers a quick 2-0 lead.
Texas then scored five in the second, and the only question after that was whether the White Sox would be shut out for a third straight game.
Seby Zavala, of all people, prevented that from happening. Just as Dunning appeared set to close out an eighth scoreless inning, Zavala drew Dunning into a rare extended plate appearance. He fouled off an elevated sinker on the fifth pitch, but after working the count full on the sixth pitch, Dunning left a slider up over the inner half, and Zavala doinked it off the left-field foul pole to end both streaks.
In between was a bunch of nothing. Dunning needed just nine pitches to close out the third, 10 pitches for the fourth, and five pitches for the sixth. The Sox did make him throw 31 between the seventh and eighth innings, but that’s because Dunning struck out five in a row. That’s another unflattering streak Zavala cut off before it truly got ridiculous.
*Zavala’s homer was the second to hit the left-field foul pole, as Semien clipped it in the sixth inning for a two-run shot off Edgar Navarro.
*Yoán Moncada made a nice cross-body throw across the diamond, and Zach Remillard also made a tough charging play behind the mound. Vaughn came through with picks on both.
*Adam Hamari’s strike zone didn’t seem ejection-worthy until later in the game, when he called a several strikes either well below the zone or off the plate.