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Unfortunately, the White Sox got their first taste of extra-inning baseball’s new format for 2020.
Unfortunately, a 46-minute rain delay in the bottom of the 10th means it wasn’t quite a representative experience. And unfortunately, ugly White Sox defense in the top of the 10th means it wasn’t a satisfying experience.
Jimmy Cordero got stuck with the loss as the first White Sox pitcher to inherit a runner on second to start an extra frame, and he did nothing wrong. He started his night by getting a fly to center, and he challenged Carlos Santana and got a dribbler to the left side.
It was well to Yoán Moncada’s left side, and while he gloved it, he bobbled while creating a throwing angle, which meant Cordero had runners on the corners with one out. Delino DeShields Jr. then dropped a good safety squeeze to the right side that revealed Yasmani Grandal’s inexperience at first base.
One of the following was the issue:
- Since DeShields showed bunt on the previous pitch, Grandal should’ve been charging more aggressively.
- Since Grandal wasn’t charging aggressively — or because it was a legitimately adequate bunt for a speedy runner on third — he should have gotten the out at first (or yielded to Cordero for that).
Instead, he tried a soft flip to home that was well late, and Cordero still only had one out on the board after recording three outs’ worth of bad contact. A legit single pushed a second run across, and that ended up being the difference.
James McCann was able to get one of the runs back, dropping a single to center as rain drenched the field to make it a 5-4 game. Danny Mendick drew a walk to put the tying run on second. Brad Hand threw one ball to Leury García, then out came the tarp.
When play resumed, Oliver Perez was on the mound, and he got a popout from García and a foul-tip strikeout from Moncada that ended the game.
The loss hurts, not necessarily because the individual game meant so much, but because they were in position to win a Lucas Giolito-Shane Bieber matchup.
The Sox held a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth when Evan Marshall came in to do the job previously held by Aaron Bummer. He retired the first two batters, but he didn’t come at Santana, instead handing him his eighth(!) walk of the series. That came back to bite Marshall when Franmil Reyes doubled Santana home to tie the game.
The game wasn’t all that pretty beforehand, but the Sox offense was powerful enough to overcome its shortcomings.
Bieber recorded 27 swinging strikes on the game, including 10 in an inning. On the other hand, that was the same inning where the White Sox scored two runs to tie the game. McCann hit a no-doubt blast to tie the game, and Grandal doubled home Moncada all the way home from first for the lead.
Giolito didn’t look as dominant as Bieber on the whole, but he finished stronger than his counterpart. He had control problems early, and he had the one inning where the other lineup sat on his changeup and he was slow to adjust, resulting in a two-run third. But he eventually gave him and threw his slider like a preferred second pitch, and to favorable results. He ended up retiring the last seven batters he faced, including three strikeouts in the seventh.
The pitching lines were befitting of a Sunday Night Baseball matchup:
- Giolito: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 9 K
- Bieber: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K
*Abreu started the scoring with a solo shot in the second inning. After going 0-for-14 in the first inning over the first 15 games, Abreu finally found a way to pounce early.
*McCann delivered two big hits, but he put Alex Colomé in a bind with his second catcher interference of the season that put two on with two outs in the ninth. Colomé pitched around it.
*The White Sox struck out 16 times, including two apiece from the top six hitters in the lineup.