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Jose Abreu hit a solo shot in the ninth inning, the first run scored by Chicago in five days. Three of those days was the White Sox being snowed in Minneapolis, but tonight in Oakland was more of the same. Reynaldo Lopez looked sharp on the mound, but the defense was sloppy. Sox got themselves into scoring position, but couldn’t capitalize.
In the first inning, there was some promise. Yoan Moncada jumped on the first fastball he saw slicing it for single to right field. Shortly after, Moncada stole second base and moved to third on Avisail Garcia’s grounder to the right side of the infield. Just 90 feet away, Moncada would be stranded there as Jose Abreu struck out, Matt Davidson walked, and Nicky Delmonico hit a fly ball up the elevator shaft. A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy did a good job tracking the ball as it sailed back into fair territory. Even if Lucroy would have dropped the ball, Delmonico wasn’t running so the threat was over.
Next frame, Yolmer Sanchez was lucky to get a single as Matt Joyce’s diving attempt in left field has the ball squirt out the glove. Later, on a Tim Anderson slow chopper, third baseman Matt Chapman couldn’t turn the double play as Sanchez easily had second base. As Chapman’s throw went to first base, Sanchez left for third base. First baseman Matt Olson saw Sanchez try to advance and quickly threw him out at third to end the inning. Easily a TOOTBLAN for Sanchez.
White Sox had another RISP opportunity in the third inning. Adam Engel had an infield single thanks to shortstop Marcus Semien’s awkward throwing motion. Moncada sacrificed to put Engel on second base with one out. Garcia grounded out up the middle to Semien as Engel moved to third base. This time Jose Abreu was able to get wood on the ball as he hit a line drive to center field. What looked like an impending base hit was taken away by Mark Canha’s diving catch.
While the Sox offense was sputtering, starter Reynaldo Lopez was sharp again. Throwing his changeup confidently in fastball counts, getting whiffs on his 96+ mph fastball, and catching hitters looking at his breaking pitch. Over six innings, Lopez struck out ten batters while only allowing four hits. Walks were a bit of an issue as Lopez put four on base, but there were two at-bats that proved to be more costly.
Scoreless after the top half of the fourth inning, Olson jumped on a first-pitch fastball for Lopez to hit his third home run of the season. Oakland now had a 1-0 lead, but Lopez was able to regain composure and made sure it didn’t compound to a bigger inning.
Next inning, Matt Joyce walked and moved to second on a slow grounder from Jed Lowrie. The ball trickled by Jose Abreu but Moncada made a great effort to back up and still get the throw off to convert the out. Delivering the damage though was Khris Davis, who crushed a fastball off the center field wall for a double. Joyce would come around to score, and the A’s lead increased to 2-0.
After Lopez was lifted for the bullpen, the game got out of hand for the Sox and at times was embarrassing to watch. Tim Anderson had a tailor-made double-play grounder go five-hole on him, and Leury Garcia stumbled in the outfield to commit two errors on one hit ball. That lead to two runs scoring, and of course, on a tougher groundball, Anderson was able to pull off the 6-4-3 double play.
A’s pitcher Daniel Mengden was on cruise control after the third inning as the White Sox offense went silent. Adam Engel lead the way with two hits, which is telling how effective the offense was tonight.
For those that are keeping track of the White Sox RISP woes to start 2018, this is where the team currently stands.
Season opener (5 for 10) aside, the White Sox have been 12 for 100 with RISP this season (including 0 for 5 through first 3 innings today)
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 17, 2018
Record: 4-9 | Box Score