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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.
*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!