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It was difficult to know if Reynaldo Lopez could recapture the success he had late in 2018. Vowing to be better after the All-Star break, Lopez was one of the worst qualified starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. A difficult time getting hitters to swing and miss, Lopez carried a 6.34 ERA after the first half.
Since promising to be better, Lopez is backing it up in an eye-opening way.
Sunday was an opportunity for Lopez to continue his hot streak against a playoff-caliber team. With the backing of Leury Garcia’s Grand Slam, the White Sox won their first series since the All-Star break beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 10-5.
With one out in the second inning, Ryan Goins drove in the game’s first run with a single to right field scoring Jon Jay. Bryce Harper misplayed the grounder, allowing Goins advanced to second base. James McCann walked, and Yolmer Sanchez hit a sharp single to right field loading the bases for Lopez. With only one career hit, it wasn’t surprising that Lopez struck out giving Drew Smyly an opening to escape the jam.
The shock came from Garcia, who crushed a hanging curveball 431-feet for his first career Grand Slam.
GOOD BYE BASEBALL!— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) August 4, 2019
Leury Garcia with the big swing to break this game open early, pic.twitter.com/vdqdmN2k0n
Pitching with a five-run lead, Lopez didn’t face tremendous pressure until the fifth inning. Scott Kingery hit a one-out double off the right-field wall, and Brad Miller walked. Facing Roman Quinn, Lopez fell behind 3-1 in the count, but came back to steal a strike with an inside fastball, and then got Quinn whiffing on a high fastball for the second out.
Recently acquired Corey Dickerson slashed a single to left field that Eloy Jimenez fielded on one bounce and got the throw off quickly, but it was not on target. Kingery came around to score from second base, and the Phillies cut the deficit to four runs. That’s all the damage Lopez would allow in the inning as he jammed Jean Segura into a weak 4-3 groundout.
Cruising through five innings on 77 pitches, Lopez faced Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and JT Realmuto for the third time in the sixth inning. Harper remained patient drawing dreaded leadoff walk. Hoskins hit a pop fly off the end of the bat which Garcia in center field made a nice catch. Realmuto moved the line with a single to left field, and again, the Phillies had runners on first and second with one out.
Cesar Hernandez would make it a 5-2 game with a two-strike single to right field, and pitching coach Don Cooper visited Lopez. With runners on the corners and the game-tying run at home plate, the White Sox had Aaron Bummer quickly warming up in the bullpen. Lopez got the groundball he was seeking, but Scott Kingery’s found its way to center field to make it a 5-3 game.
Rick Renteria decided to make a double switch ending Lopez’s day. Aaron Bummer got Sean Rodriguez to ground into the inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, and after tossing four scoreless innings to start, Lopez finished with a line of 5.1 IP 7 H 3 ER 3 BB 3 K.
Now only a two-run game, Goins led off the seventh inning with a double sailed over Dickerson’s head in left field. James McCann would lay down a bunt that moved Goins to third base with one out. With Sanchez batting, another bunt could have been in play like in last night’s game. Instead, Sanchez swung away and came through with a shallow fly landing in center field for an RBI single, pushing the White Sox lead to 6-3.
Jimenez would make it a 9-3 game with an oppo taco in the eighth inning. Jose Abreu beat out an infield grounder for a single, and Matt Skole would follow up with a pinch-hit single to set the table for Jimenez. On a 2-0 hanging slider, Jimenez did not miss hitting his 18th home run of the season.
Eloy's first home run since July 14 extends the lead! pic.twitter.com/4iqQOiqhio— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) August 4, 2019
Tim Anderson in the ninth inning hit his 12th home run of the season that just reached the flower boxes in left field giving the White Sox a seven-run lead. Only scoring 44 runs in their last 22 games, a 10-spot was much a needed relief for the struggling White Sox offense.
- White Sox were 5-for-6 with runners in scoring position
- Aaron Bummer pitched 1.2 scoreless innings lowering in season ERA to 1.69