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Dylan Cease made relatively easy work of the first inning for once.
It was the second inning that did him in.
After posting a zero on a respectable 20 pitches to open his day, Cease failed to retire any of the first four batters in the second. He issued a pair of walks around an Avisaíl García single, after which Travis d’Arnaud crushed an inner-half slider out to left for the grand slam.
Tampa Bay hitters seemed to be able to sit slider because he kept missing high with his fastball, a trend that had plagued the first inning of his first two starts. García single was also on the breaking ball.
Cease gave up a two-out ground-rule double before the close of the inning, and then he didn’t allow another hit the rest of the way. Neither did any White Sox reliever. The White Sox limited the Rays to two walks over the remaining six innings they pitched, and both were erased with double plays.
Unfortunately, even though the White Sox outhit the Rays 5-3, they were outscored 4-2. They wasted their best opportunity against Blake Snell in the first inning, when a wild pitch put runners on second and third with nobody out and Jose Abreu at the plate, albeit on a 1-2 count. Alas, Abreu struck out, Leury García was thrown out at home trying to score on a pitch that wasn’t wild enough, and James McCann went down swinging to end the threat.
The Sox couldn’t muster a similar threat against Snell the rest of the way. They made him throw 109 pitches over six innings, but that’s because they struck out 10 times.
They avoided the shutout when Tampa Bay’s bullpen arrived. Ryan Goins drew a one-out walk off Andrew Kittridge in the seventh, then scored on Yolmer Sánchez’s triple over the head of center fielder Avísail García. Adam Engel then cashed in Sänchez with an infield single that made it 4-2 and brought the tying run to the plate. Alas, the rest of the White Sox went eight up and eight down, and Engel never got a chance to come to the plate as the tying run.
*Sánchez and Engel had four of the White Sox’ five hits.
*The White Sox went 2-8 on the road trip, and were one McCann swing from being 1-9.
*The bullpen should be rested for the homestand. Josh Osich recorded eight outs by himself, and Jimmy Cordero retired the last batter of the eighth in his White Sox debut.
*Thanks to everybody who came out to Alter Brewing for the meetup. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.