No products in the cart.
The White Sox had blown a few late leads with everybody but Liam Hendriks on the mound, but this time a game finally shaped into a traditional save situation that allowed the White Sox’s best reliever to take the mound with a one-run lead in the ninth inning.
And Hendriks blew it as well.
Hendriks gave up a solo shot to Carlos Santana to send the game into extras. The Royals got their runner on second home with a couple of bunts, although had Garrett Crochet not spiked his throw to home into the turf, the second bunt wouldn’t have worked. In the bottom of the 10th, the Sox’s runner did not advance. Adam Eaton couldn’t get a bunt down, and then struck out. Zack Collins struck out, and Nick Madrigal grounded out to end the game.
After going undefeated with ninth-inning leads and against left-handed starters in 2020, both streaks are dead.
The White Sox could have done a little more against lefty Mike Minor and the Kansas City bullpen. While they only managed five hits, they also drew nine walks. Alas, they went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, with Leury Garcia’s flared double over third base the only hit. They had harder-hit balls, but Luis Robert’s double hit the top of the left-field wall, and others died in front of the track.
Only two balls carried far enough. One was Santana’s in the top of the ninth. The other was Adam Eaton’s in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitting for Andrew Vaughn against righty Jesse Hahn, Eaton worked a 2-2 count and then hooked a slider just inside the right-field foul pole to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead.
La Russa followed a good hunch there. Unfortunately, it rendered moot the idea to pinch-run Nick Williams for Yermín Mercedes after his leadoff walk, and so Williams came to the plate instead of Mercedes with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. At least Williams was a better runner on second for the top of the 10th, although that mattered little, too. Eaton’s bunt attempt also appeared indecisive.
Everything made Dylan Cease’s afternoon more or less a sidebar. It was a step forward in terms of stuff — six strikeouts over 4⅔ innings, with his fastball doing a lot of the damage. Unfortunately, a first-inning error by Yoán Moncada and a blown call by Todd Tichenor required Cease to throw 12 extra pitches, and by the fifth inning, his slider wasn’t really a threat. He ended up losing the 1-0 lead with three singles over the course of four batters, and La Russa pulled him one out short of five for Michael Kopech.
That said, Kopech made Cease’s start successful enough by getting the game through seven. He was once again sensational, retiring all seven batters he faced, including three by strikeout. However it happened, two Sox pitchers carried a 1-1 game into the eighth. It’s just a shame Aaron Bummer compounded the White Sox’s high-leverage problems by giving up a run in the eighth. He walked ninth-inning lefty Nicky Lopez, then gave up a single to lefty Andrew Benintendi for KC’s first lead of the game. Kopech might be the only reliever who looks at the top of the game right now.
*Collins gunned down three runners. He picked off Hunter Dozier at second after Dozier wandered from the base after losing track of the count. He also nabbed Whit Merrifield, with an assist from Merrifield losing contact with the bag while sliding, and Danny Mendick holding the tag. His SHOTHO of Benintendi was all him.
*Madrigal made a really nice turn on a difficult double play for a needed point in his favor defensively.
*Mercedes’ hitting streak is over, but because he drew three walks.