Watching what the Chicago White Sox do on the field has been a difficult chore. Plenty of distractions away from the games themselves have held intrigue and created more angst than watching a team on pace to lose 99 games. Nonetheless, the show must go on.
Boy, did this show have a wacky ending.
The first pitch temperature looked like an elite fastball in the high 90s as the heat index in Chicago was approaching a high the city hadn’t seen in a decade. Seattle had George Kirby on the mound looking to continue their eight-game winning streak and further cut down the distance between them and their Texan rivals (Rangers and Astros). I had a chance to be in attendance for Kirby’s start against Baltimore, where he pitched nine scoreless innings for a game that finished 1-0 in 10 innings. It was the most dominant and locked-in starting pitching performance since Dylan Cease flirted with his no-hitter against Minnesota in 2022.
Kirby entered today’s game, going three straight starts without walking a batter and pitching at least six innings. Meanwhile, Michael Kopech took the ball with his 11 consecutive starts of not pitching at least six innings. The last time he did was on June 4 against Detroit, and his closest attempt to achieving the feat was July 20 against the New York Mets, where Kopech went 5.2 innings.
While Kirby had figured out how to prevent free passes, Kopech had been quite the opposite entering the afternoon with four straight starts of walking at least four batters.
For the first four innings, Kopech’s effectively wild approach was working against Seattle. On 65 pitches, Kopech only threw 33 strikes as he walked four batters again but only allowed one hit while striking out five. The Mariners hot offense couldn’t generate any time of momentum against Kopech, and that allowed the White Sox to gain an early edge.
In the third inning, Carlos Perez hit a double to right field and advanced to third base thanks to Lenyn Sosa’s groundout to second base. With the infield drawn in, recently activated Tim Anderson mustered enough strength on his grounder up the middle to sneak into center field. That was Anderson’s first hit since returning from his five-game suspension, and the RBI single gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
That was the score entering the fifth inning as Kopech was looking to extend his outing. After a few warm-up pitches, White Sox trainers visited Kopech, and the brief visit resulted in his departure. Rubber arm reliever Bryan Shaw took over and pitched a scoreless fifth inning.
Kopech’s streak of not pitching at least six innings in a start extends to 12 straight as his final line was okay: 4 IP 1 H 0 R 4 BB 5 K. His season ERA dips below 5.00 again, standing at 4.95. White Sox reported that Kopech suffered from leg cramps and is day-to-day. Even today’s Chicago heat can get the best of a Texan.
It was still a 1-0 game entering the sixth inning as Kirby tried to extend his streak. Kirby was just one out away after fly-outs from Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Vaugh. But Oscar Colas singled to keep the inning alive for Trayce Thompson. In Thompson’s third stint with the White Sox, he still didn’t have an extra-base hit in 10 games. However, Thompson doubled in the fourth inning and laid off some high fastballs to work the count full.
With Colas running, Kirby spun a slider on the outside corner within the strike zone, and Thompson was ready for it. A great swing generated a backspin for a deep fly to the bleachers in left field. A two-run homer, Thompson’s first home run with the White Sox since 2018, and suddenly the White Sox were ahead 3-0.
Thompson’s dinger ended Kirby’s day. His streak of lasting six or more innings was stopped at three, but Kirby didn’t walk any White Sox batters and still hasn’t walked an opposing batter in August. The final line was 5.2 IP 8 H 3 ER 0 BB 9 K.
Seattle scored in the seventh inning off Aaron Bummer in the most Bummer-way. Jose Caballero walked and proceeded to steal second and third base. The latter play was challenged as Pedro Grifol hoped that Caballero didn’t keep his drag foot on the bat with Elvis Andrus applying the tag. The replay confirmed that Caballero was safe.
Facing left-handed hitter Josh Rojas, Bummer got caught in an awkward situation. On a 3-1 pitch, Rojas dropped a bunt towards first base. Because Bummer fell off the mound towards third base, he had to shift momentum and run down the grounder. Ultimately, Bummer couldn’t field the slow roller, and it ended up closer to Andrew Vaughn. However, if Vaughn charged the grounder, he didn’t have a play at home base nor at first, as his limited foot speed wouldn’t help, and Lenyn Sosa wasn’t near first base to cover.
That’s all the damage Seattle could muster against Bummer. Next in line was Gregory Santos, attempting a six-out save. Santos escaped runners in scoring position in the eighth inning unscathed. But the young reliever flirted with danger in the ninth inning when allowing back-to-back singles to Rojas and pinch hitter Cal Raleigh.
It got more dicey when Santos walked JP Crawford to load the bases with just one out. With his pitch count at 31, Santos had to face one of the hottest hitters on Earth, Julio Rodriguez. The first pitch was a 100 mph sinker that Rodriguez whiffed on. Santos doubled up with another 100 mph sinker that Rodriguez fouled off but clipped Perez’s knee, who needed extra time to walk it off.
On Santos’s third consecutive 100 mph sinker, the offering got away from him as it hit Rodriguez on the hand. It was a painful way of earning an RBI, but Rodriguez’s HBP cut the lead to 3-2.
Next was Eugenio Suarez, and he flipped a hanging slider to center field for a two-run single, giving Seattle a 4-3 lead. At 36 pitches, Grifol that was enough for Santos and pulled him for Edgar Navarro. Santos’s final line was 1.1 IP 4 H 3 ER 1 BB 2 K 1 HBP.
Vaughn’s height played a factor during Teoscar Hernandez at-bat. A comebacker fielded by Navarro had him throwing out the lead runner at third base, which Andrus quickly fielded and made a throw across the diamond for a double play attempt. Except Andrus’s throw was a little high for Vaughn, who couldn’t keep his foot on the bag as he reached up. Hernandez reached safely, keeping the inning alive, and the bases were loaded again when Navarro hit Ty France with a pitch.
The inning finally ended when Mike Ford got underneath Navarro’s sinker, resulting in a can of corn flying out to center field. Yet, the damage was done, and it was the White Sox’s turn to generate offense in the ninth inning.
Andres Munoz was tasked with the save opportunity for Seattle. Leading the inning off was Oscar Colas, who already had two singles earlier in the game. After getting ahead 0-2 with two outside sliders, Munoz tried to spin a slider inside on Colas. Instead, the pitch caught too much of the plate for Colas to smash a double to right field. The White Sox were in business.
Thompson was next, and he froze on Munoz’s slider for a strikeout look. With Perez’s spot up, Grifol went to his bench, having Andrew Benintendi pinch hit. Like the Colas at-bat, Munoz got ahead of Benintendi, attacking up in the zone. But on his 1-2 slider, it caught too much of the plate, which Benintendi flipped into right field for a single. Colas was waved home as he raced home, attempting to beat the throw from Hernandez.
It took replay to decide the play’s outcome, but Colas’s slide at home was just in time. Benintendi’s pinch-hit single tied the game again. Munoz rebounded to strikeout Yasmani Grandal and Anderson, sending the game into extra innings.
Sammy Peralta pitched the 10th inning as Seattle had multiple left-handed batters due to bat. After a bloop single and walk, Peralta put himself in a tough spot with the bases loaded facing Rodriguez. There were two outs, but it was a dangerous spot. On an inside fastball, Rodriguez got jammed and hit a weak comebacker to Peralta. An easy throw over to first base ended the threat and gave the White Sox offense a chance to win.
With Anderson standing on second base and Andrus hitting, it was clear that the bunt was on. After fouling off the first attempt, Andrus didn’t offer on a slider outside the zone. However, Anderson was in between second and third base when Raleigh made a throw down to second base. Crawford fielded the throw, and had a chance to throw Anderson out at third base.
But Crawford’s throw hit Anderson in the head and ricocheted into left field. The throwing error allowed Anderson to get up and race home for a White Sox walk-off win.
- Oscar Colas, Trayce Thompson, and Tim Anderson had multi-hit games
- Seattle left 14 runners on base and were 4-for-18 with RISP
- White Sox are now 5-10 in extra inning games
Record: 50-77 | Box Score