The White Sox finally remembered they were playing the worst team in baseball.
After losing the first two games of the series by a combined score of 20-9, the White Sox hit three homers without giving one up. Touki Toussaint steadied the rotation with five shutout innings, putting the Sox on path to an easy victory toward the end of a most turbulent week.
The three homers were hit by guys for whom homers are important: Lenyn Sosa for the second day in a row, Yoán Moncada from the right side, and Andrew Benintendi the opposite way off a lefty.
Moncada’s blast was the big one, and it had to feel satisfying. The Sox had staked out a 2-0 lead through two innings on an Eloy Jiménez RBI single and Sosa’s second homer in as many days. J.P. Sears started the third by yielding a double to Tim Anderson, but he got Andrew Benintendi to ground out and struck out Luis Robert Jr. to keep Anderson frozen at third.
Sears intentionally walked Jiménez to theoretically set up the more favorable matchup with Moncada, but it blew up in his face immediately. He started Moncada with a sweeper down and in, but while he got the “in” part correct, it stayed a little too far up for Moncada, who was ready for it. He opened up and launched the ball well over the White Sox bullpen in left field to make it a 5-0 game.
As long as Toussaint didn’t have one of his relapses into wildness, the Sox could more or less cruise from there. He walked a batter in the fourth, but a timely double play and lack of awareness by Tony Kemp kept the A’s off the board. Had Kemp run hard home from third on Lawrence Butler’s grounder to first, he would’ve scored, because Andrew Vaughn had tagged first before throwing to short. With the force play eliminated, all Kemp had to do was touch home before Anderson tagged Shea Langeliers, but he jogged home without any urgency, and the play ended up beating him.
Toussaint went on to plunk a batter in the fifth, giving him four free bases over five innings, but the A’s had a same number of hits and double plays at two apiece, so Toussaint was able to last long enough to complete five and pick up his second victory of the season.
The bullpen followed Toussaint’s cue by issuing five more walks. Bryan Shaw and Jimmy Lambert walked three between them, but all came with two outs. Sammy Peralta made the mistake of walking his batter to open the eighth, which led to Oakland’s only scoring inning. Brent Rooker singled, and Carlos Perez’s hot grounder played Moncada for a run. Peralta then got Shea Langeliers to fly out, and while Aaron BUmmer struck out Aledymys Diaz for the second out, Jonah Bride singled home a second unearned run to make it a little bit of a game.
Bummer then issued his compulsory walk in the ninth with one out, but to no ill effect.
*Luis Robert Jr. doubled twice and scored once. His attempt to score on another Jiménez single was foiled by Tony Kemp. It wasn’t the greatest send by Eddie Rodríguez, because Robert held up to make sure the grounder in front of him got past a diving Nick Allen.
*Jiménez reached base all four times, singled twice and walking twice.
*Trayce Thompson helped out Toussaint’s cause with a fine diving catch to rob Kemp of extra bases to start the second.