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Perhaps this game would have taken a different course if Yasmani Grandal were rung up on a borderline sinker by Michael Fulmer in the first inning. Tim Anderson was off on the full-count pitch, and Grayson Greiner’s throw had him beat by plenty.
It should’ve been an inning-ending SHOTHO and scoreless game heading into the second. Instead, Fulmer had two on with one out, and the White Sox followed with three straight hits to make it a 3-0 game after one, setting the Tigers’ second embarrassing shutout of the week into motion.
Then again, little about the next eight inning suggested this game could’ve gone in a different direction. Tim Anderson went 4-for-5 out of the leadoff spot, but José Abreu beat Anderson’s four aces with a royal flush. A day after his 22-game hitting streak ended, he responded with a perfect night at the plate. He went 4-for-5 with a pair of three-run homers and a walk, resulting in a franchise-first combo of seven RBIs and five runs scored. The only bummer about his night was that a makeup call against Grandal prevented him from coming to the plate with the bases loaded for a shot at his third homer in as many innings.
Anderson had to settle for the game’s second star. He raised his average against the Tigers this season to over .500 (18-for-35), and he also made a helluva heady play to redirect Nomar Mazara’s throw into second home in time to nab Willi Castro, who hesitated around third because Mazara picked up a double off the wall so cleanly.
Other fun facts:
- The White Sox scored in six of eight innings.
- Every White Sox starter hit safely, and Adam Engel made it 10 after replacing Mazara midgame.
- The White Sox outhit by the Tigers 19-5.
- The White Sox had more hits with runners in scoring position (seven) than the Tigers had at-bats with runners in scoring position (three).
Perhaps the only thing the Butterfly Effect could have derailed was Reynaldo López, who came back from Schaumburg to resurrect his 2020 season with five shutout innings for his first win of the season. López was good, in that he had multiple pitches to grab strikes with, allowing him to attack the zone and pitch backwards if falling behind.
His fastball was lively enough for six of his 10 swinging strikes, but he also let the Tigers take their whacks at pitches over the plate. They just couldn’t find the sweet spot. Jorge Bonifacio’s slicing double to the base of the right-field wall in the fourth inning was the only damaging blow, but that weird relay home kept the run from crossing the plate and allowed López to continue on his merry way.
It’s only unfortunate that Rick Renteria deprived Alex McRae of a potential three-inning save, as ChiSox Scalabrine pitched the seventh and eighth innings on a total of 18 pitches. Instead, Bernardo Flores Jr. handled the ninth, working around a couple of singles to preserve the two-touchdown margin.
*Anderson’s four-hit game means he’s back atop the AL Central batting title race at .358.
*Abreu’s seven RBIs gives him a four-RBI lead over Freddie Freeman for the most in baseball.
*With the Yankees beating Baltimore, the White Sox’s magic number for a postseason berth is down to seven.
*With McRae and Flores mopping up, Jonathan Stiever is starting Sunday.