White Sox 12, Tigers 11: Tim Anderson walks off season’s dumbest game

This game started with Carlos Rodón giving up back-to-back homers in the first inning and Eloy Jiménez assisted off the field after spraining his ankle on another awkward catch attempt at the wall.

In the middle, the White Sox trailed 8-1 and gave up runs in each of the first six innings.

It ended with Tim Anderson doing a reprise of his triumphant bat toss, this time celebrating a walk-off homer against Joe Jimenez.

And, most incredibly, Anderson’s game-winner might not have been necessary if Jose Abreu didn’t pass him on the basepaths on his own go-ahead homer in the bottom of the seventh.

Let’s work backward and take inventory of what has to be the dumbest game of the year.

Jimenez struck out each of the three batters he faced before Anderson came to the plate. He struck out Jose Rondón to end the eighth, then blew away Ryan Cordell and Leury Garcia. He started Anderson with a first-pitch slider, but he hung it. Anderson deposited the ball over the left-field wall, and his bat toward the third-base dugout.

Anderson also helped out Alex Colomé in the top of the ninth. He mitigated the effects of a leadoff walk by making a tremendous ranging play to his right and cross-body throw to get the force at second for the first out, then started a 6-4-3 double play on Miguel Cabrera to end the inning.

Kelvin Herrera made his own luck in the top of the eighth. He started the inning by allowing a game-tying homer to Ronny Rodriguez and a walk to John Hicks, but Ron Gardenhire called for a sac bunt in game where 22 runs were already scored, and Herrera fielded Josh Harrison’s attempt and cut down Hicks at second. He never dealt with a runner in scoring position.

Rodriguez’s solo homer should’ve made it a one-run game, but Jose Abreu took a run off the board at the same time he put two on it during a play you may never see again, at least live.

With runners on the corners and one out, he hit a towering drive to left that sent Dustin Peterson to the track. It landed in the first row of seats for what should’ve been a three-run homer and a 12-10 lead. The fireworks went off and everything.

But the umpires walked away to put on headsets, and not because of fan interference (it’s impossible at Guaranteed Rate Field, anyway). As the ball cleared the fence just behind Peterson, Anderson, the runner on first, made a first motion to return back to the bag to tag up. Abreu, meanwhile, was rounding first base aimlessly, and he ended up overlapping with Anderson just enough for it to be clear no matter the angle.

If you were scoring the game, you had to erase the three-run homer and write in a two-run single, with Abreu out 3-unassisted.

It was incredible that the Sox could take the lead in the first place, but they put themselves in position with a five-run explosion in the sixth. Rondón greeted Zac Reininger with an opposite-field homer to start the inning, and after Cordell struck out, six straight White Sox reached safely.

García and Anderson both wore out Peterson with doubles to the left-field corner, and Abreu hit his first and officially only homer of the game. His three-run shot made it a 10-7 game.

James McCann singled to center to chase Reininger, but Drew VerHagen didn’t help. McCann reached third when Yoan Moncada’s sizzler deflected off the glove of a diving Josh Harrison and into short right center field. Moncada took second on a wild pitch. Nicky Delmonico followed with a flare that dropped behind the shortstop Rodriguez in shallow center field. McCann scored, and Moncada advanced to third while Delmonico took second.

An intentional walk to Yonder Alonso loaded the bases as Rondón came to the plate for a second time … but the inning crashed to a halt. Rondón lined to second, and Alonso couldn’t make it back in time to first for the slow-developing double-off. They were a run short, but it put them in position for Abreu’s over-the-fence single to put them ahead.

The Sox had hemorrhaged runs up until that point. Rodón was terrible. His changeup was his best pitch, which says as much about his changeup as it does his other pitches. He gave up eight runs on nine hits (three homers) and three walks over three-plus innings. He couldn’t hit the mitt with his fastball, and his slider wasn’t effective, either. I’d tell you how many strikes it got, but the game broke Statcast.

The Sox trailed 2-1, 3-1, 5-1, and eventually 8-1 by the time Rodón’s game was done. Carson Fulmer came in to throw three innings of his own and allowed both of Rodón’s inherited runners to score, but partially because Anderson couldn’t field an awkward hop while drawn in.

(Anderson also lost traction on his back leg during another potential double-play ball in the second inning. His throw to second didn’t have enough steam to start a 6-4-3, so while the pitchers had problems, they also lacked luck on their grounders.)

Fulmer had some of his liveliest stuff of the year, but he also gave up single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, including the Tigers’ fourth of five homers.

That’s what made it difficult to envision a comeback, even though the White Sox had a much more respectable showing against Daniel Norris than they did five days ago. After getting blanked over five innings on Sunday, they touched him up for four runs over five this time around.

Abreu drove in his first run with an opposite-field single to score García, who’d singled to lead off and later advanced on a wild pitch. Alonso hit a majestic solo shot in the fourth, and Yoan Moncada singled home two runs in the fifth. McCann was the second, scoring on a questionable send by Nick Capra with a fine slide around the reach of catcher Grayson Greiner. It would’ve been a bad send with one out if anybody but Adam Engel weren’t on deck.

Engel was on deck in the fifth spot because he was the one who took the place of Jiménez, who, in another awkward attempt to make a leaping catch on the warning track, threw his body into the wall as Grayson Greiner’s line drive landed in the White Sox bullpen.

Jiménez jabbed his foot into the fence, bending it back to an unnatural degree as the rest of his body followed it into the fence. He collapsed on the warning track and writhed in pain. He was eventually able to stand and walk without assistance, but the walk back to the dugout proved too long for him to complete it under his own power.

Between the Jiménez injury and two other missed opportunities — García grounding into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the second and Engel striking out in Jiménez’s spot with two on and two outs in the third — it appeared that the Sox weren’t going to be able to keep up. Those who gave up at that point missed something special.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox are calling Jiménez’s injury an ankle sprain and said x-rays were negative, but they’ll determine the extent of it on Saturday.

*Abreu went 4-for-5 with five RBIs, and it should’ve been six.

*Anderson also had a four-hit game, which includied his fifth homer and 10th stolen base.

*Moncada struck out looking his first time up, but he came back to go 3-for-5 with a double, and two of those hits were as a righty.

*McCann used his legs well. Along with the slide, he stole a base on a lefty and went from first to third.

*This game took 4 hours and 2 minutes, but the pace of play was outstanding.

*Let me know if I missed anything else. So much happened!

Record: 10-14 | Box score | Highlights

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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karkovice squad

A couple got engaged at the game and Garfein spent the rally awkwardly chatting them up.

Stone came out pro-batflip.

Rondon looked pretty mediocre on the pivot and slow tracking pop fouls. Enough that I’d consider playing him at 3B and Moncada at 2B if Yolmer’s sitting.

Brett R. Bobysud

Stone came out pro-batflip.

One of us! One of us! One of us!

polishwith

“…season’s dumbest game.”

That’s a bold statement with 4+ months to go, Jim. Let’s see if it pays off.

Lurker Laura

Dumbest but funnest (yeah, not good English there, whatever, it’s early). I came in at the end of the sixth.

denbum

One of the dumbest, should-never-happen plays in baseball…especially at major-league level was the homer-nullifying Abreu passing Anderson on basepaths AND the ball is not even in play. Anderson was having an idea (maybe tag up if it’s caught) and Abreu is moving forward (does he not SEE TA?). But the biggest blame for that event falls on first base coach D Boston. He has opportunity to slow down Abreu with a warning or call out to TA to get going. Did anyone post-game ask RR about Boston inaction? Or ask DB himself? There’s only a few occasions where the 1B coach acts like the traffic cop and this is one of them. I put the blame mostly on the coach.
IIRC, around ’77 or ’78 in Fenway, Ralph Garr hit HR and passes runner also (Downing?) or vice-versa. I’ll look it up. Anyone else recall this happening?

denbum

Looked it up – I’m claiming old-age: It was Ralph Garr on 6/24/77 in Minnesota, not Boston. He passed up Essian.

Jim, Am I allowed to post a link here?

asinwreck

Oh, man, Ralph Garr running the bases. Yes. Combine that with Eloy doing his best Ron LeFlore impression in the outfield and we have callbacks no one wants to see again.

denbum

Plus the Sox lost that game by one run…

Right Size Wrong Shape

Of course Fred Merkle would be involved in one.

Patrick Nolan

Upon watching the replay, Anderson’s homer didn’t get out by much. I’m totally pro bat-flip and pro-celebration but I’m worried that he’s going to wind up with the most embarrassing single (or flyout) of the season.

karkovice squad

Can see the point, Statcast gave that an expected batting average of .500, so probably benefited from last night’s jet stream. Still, did go 373 ft in the right part of the park.

denbum

Yeah…I want to give TA all the credit he deserves for his successes and continued upswings in his development. Celebrating is great and a little swagger are welcome on a team that has been non-relevant for so long. He’s a pleasure to watch both at bat and in the field.
1) I agree Pat, that there’s possibly going to be an embarrassing moment when the bat flip happens and the ball is caught on track.
2) W Sox are under .500 and until they’re in contention in this piss-poor division, maybe a little less swagger until they win something.
3) I’m an old guy and tho I know times have changed, I can’t imagine Aaron, Banks, Mays, et al. Celebrate yes, but be professional.
I want TA to be recognized for his play and production, not for the you-tube moments relating to his bat flips. Help the team win and all the accolades will follow.
TA’s supposedly a good PR guy and a community-minded individual. I wish some veteran will take him aside and tell him that the kids will look up to him for his play, not his antics.

karkovice squad

Yeah, I can’t imagine 3 black Hall of Famers publicly celebrating in an era when their white teammates were getting into fights off the field to keep them safe, either.

denbum

the et al included Mantle, Killebrew, Schmidt, Yaz, ….

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think I remember Schmidt nearly hitting the woah after he hit his 500th.

asinwreck

Today’s game has been postponed so we can all get a breather from the idiocy displayed last night.

gibby32

Question: if Abreu had been the third out when he passed Anderson, would two runs have scored? Would Leury’s run depend on where he was when Abreu passed Anderson? Or do the two runs score in any event?

karkovice squad

My understanding is it’s not a force out so it depends on where everyone is when the infraction occurred.

PauliePaulie

No Game Today.
Potentially giving the Sox another turn through the rotation to address the 5th starters spot?
And moar Nicky D!

Milky✌️

Those who gave up at that point missed something special.

I’ve paid the price for my lack of vision. I was in a bad mood going into the game after a long week. Rodon’s meatballs, the grounding into double plays, and Eloy getting hurt were too much. I’m usually the one in the group too stubborn to leave, it figures the night I have a short fuse they mount an 11 run comeback