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A night after Lucas Giolito had his worst start of the season, Michael Kopech struggled even more. As a result, a favorable pitching matchup for the White Sox turned into another humdrum loss.
Kopech gave up a leadoff homer to open his night, and it was a battle through the rest of his three innings. He issued four walks while throwing just 46 of 85 pitches for strikes. When he did find the strike zone, he got pounded. Seven of the Jays’ 11 batted balls against him topped 100 mph, including a three-run Danny Jansen homer on a misplaced 0-2 fastball in the third inning that gave Toronto all the runs it needed for a 5-1 lead in the third.
The White Sox bullpen once again did an admirable job of stopping the bleeding, keeping the Blue Jays off the board until Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s two-run homer off Bennett Sousa in the eighth.
Unfortunately, while AJ Pollock opened the game with a homer off Hyun-Jun Ryu, and José Abreu took the lefty out to left for a two-run shot in the fourth that made it a 5-3 game, the Sox couldn’t build innings without the long ball.
The top of the order looked like a top of the order, as Pollock, Andrew Vaughn and Abreu all reached base twice (Vaughn on an error that could’ve been scored a double). They helped build a pair of promising innings late, but to no avail.
In the sixth, Abreu and Luis Robert singled with one out to put runners on the corners. Jake Burger came up swinging, and he went down swinging, offering at every pitch and striking out on an 0-2 changeup. Leury García also fell behind 0-2 before grounding out to second.
An inning later, Danny Mendick kept the inning alive with a single, followed by a base hit by Pollock and a walk to Vaughn. Abreu worked a 3-1 count, but he beat a hittable David Phelps sinker into the ground for the fielder’s choice.
The problem is that the White Sox lack the plate discipline to apply steady pressure. Vaughn’s seventh-inning walk was the only one the White Sox took, whereas White Sox pitchers issued eight walks over eight innings, and two of them preceded homers.
*García had a nice day at second base, making a ranging catch in shallow right field, then just coming up late on what would’ve been a sensational diving stop on a Guerrero grounder.
*Yoán Moncada pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out looking, so a rehab stint can no longer be retroactive.
*The White Sox fell into a tie for second place with the Guardians, who are one ahead in the loss column, but one point behind in winning percentage.