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After three consecutive nail-biters, the tension between the White Sox and Brewers finally broke with comic relief courtesy of Eloy Jiménez.
Maybe you didn’t laugh, but you can’t blame the people who did.
With one out in the fifth and the White Sox leading 2-1, Jiménez furtively pursued Christian Yelich’s fly ball down the left field line. Perhaps he didn’t read the slice on the ball, which was off the end of Yelich’s bat. Perhaps he didn’t want to overpursue it and risk a run-in with the sidewall so soon after getting rattled by the left field fence.
Whatever his process, he came up short of the ball’s landing spot, yet somehow still tumbled into the seats, and he needed some time to untangle himself.
After jogging to first, Yelich raced the other 270 feet for a game-tying inside-the-park homer, which also marked the team’s abandonment of Gio González.
González seemed to have found a groove after minimizing the damage of three troublesome innings to a single run, and had Jiménez handled Yelich’s fly like a normal left fielder, he would’ve been an out away from a respectable five.
Instead, González followed by walking Avisaíl Garcia, then gave up a line-drive homer to Jedd Gyorko that made it a 4-2 lead. That’s on González, but when he got a grounder to short, Leury García fired high, and José Abreu didn’t exactly elevated to grab it. González departed after Omar Narváez’s single. He failed to retire any of the final five batters he faced, even though he did his job on two of them.
Matt Foster came in and allowed one of Gonzalez’s runners to score, capping off a four-run fifth that decided the game.
That said, Zack Collins came about three feet short of making the Brewers work harder for it.
He came to the plate as the tying run with two on, both runners reaching without hitting safely (Yasmani Grandal walk, Nomar Mazara HBP that knocked him out of the game). The inning almost didn’t get to him, because Grandal strayed two-thirds of the way to third on Leury García’s well-struck but eminently catchable line drive to center. Ben Gamel had plenty of time to double him off, but his throw tailed off second and gave the Sox another life.
So Collins came to the plate, and he worked a 3-0 count on Freddy Peralta. Peralta came at him with a fastball, belt-high and inner half. Collins gave it a ride, hitting it hard enough (105.6 mph). It was jjust hit too high (39 degrees), and it fell into the glove of right fielder Mark Mathias, who was snug against the wall. The White Sox have had four such attempts at game-tying homers die on that warning track over the last two games.
The Sox didn’t challenge afterward, and Steve Cishek threw a horrible two-thirds of an eighth inning — two walks, two HBPs, three runs — that put the game out of reach.
Milwaukee pitching bullied White Sox hitters for the second straight night. The Sox were limited to six hits while striking out 14 times. Luis Robert wore the golden sombrero, while Yoán Moncada and Abreu combined for five strikeouts behind him.
Milwaukee starter Josh Lindblom came out firing, striking out the first five he faced. The Sox interrupted him when Mazara muscled a single to right, and Leury García followed by lofting a hanging changeup over the right field wall.
García accounted for all three RBIs, with the third showing up after eight unanswered Milwaukee runs. His bid for a second homer of the game went in and out of Gamel’s glove in center, but it was enough to score Adam Engel, who had reached with two outs in the ninth on a throwing error.
*Brady Lail made his White Sox debut — and second-ever MLB appearance — and he pitched the final 1⅓ innings without incident, if you don’t mind a couple hits.
*Grandal almost had the second White Sox TOOTBLAN of the night, as Danny Mendick got doubled off first in the third inning on a line drive hit to the second baseman.
*Along with the four strikeouts, Robert made his first defensive misplay of his career when his throw home sailed over the cutoff man on an RBI single and allowed a runner to advance to third with one out. González escaped the inning with no further damage.
*Yelich went 1-for-2 with four walks, although”Jiménez gifted him the “1.” If the White Sox got him hot, at least they won’t have to face him again, unless…