Here’s one case where maybe Pedro Grifol can’t win.
Last Wednesday, José Ureña threw six quality innings before the Twins shocked him for four hiuts and four runs over 11 pitches to start the seventh. It spoiled what should’ve been a quality start, and seemed to ask too much from a guy who had been picked off the scrap heap.
Tonight, Grifol seemed to heed that lesson. Ureña once again turned in a splendid six innings, allowing just a run on four hits and zero walks over the course of 70 pitches. Two of those hits were triples, including one in the sixth inning that came around to score the tying run. He’d also survived two lineouts with a runner on second the inning before, so there were warning signs of another collapse.
When Yoán Moncada homered to put the Sox ahead 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Grifol went to the bullpen. Maybe his mistake was going to Aaron Bummer, becuase he issued a one-out walk to Ildemaro Vargas, followed by a Carter Kieboom single that put runners on the corners. Bummer then struck out Drew Millas, and when Davey Martinez lifted Blake Rutherford for Joey Meneses, Grifol countered with a righty in Bryan Shaw.
And it didn’t matter. Shaw left a 1-1 slider up, and Menses got enough of it to launch it over the left-field wall for a go-ahead homer that put the Nationals ahead 4-2.
The White Sox made it a game in the ninth, but it turned out that Moncada and Luis Robert Jr. represented the offense. Robert homered on Jackson Rutledge’s first pitch of the fourth inning to put the Sox up 1-0, and then Moncada did the same in the seventh to make it 2-1.
They combined their powers in the ninth. Robert greeted Kyle Finnegan by blistering a fastball to center for a double, and after Eloy Jiménez grounded out, Moncada shot a singel to center to score Robert to make it 4-3. Andrew Vaughn struck out on sliders, and while Trayce Thompson walked to keep the game alive, Elvis Andrus lined out to right to end the game, and so the Sox will have to go to a rubber match in order to try to win their first series of September.
Robert went 3-for-4, with his 37th homer and 36th double. Moncada went 2-for-4 with his ninth homer of the year. The rest of the lineup went 3-for-25.
*Vaughn and Ureña combined for a slick 3-6-1 double play in the fourth inning.
*Thompson hit for Gavin Sheets in the seventh because he was facing a righty and was going to enter as a defensive replacement anyway, but then he had to hit for himself against a righty in the ninth. Good thing he walked, making it moot.
*Bummer’s ERA is now 7.11.