White Sox 3, Athletics 2: Bend don’t break run prevention works

If Monday night was the perfect bullpen blueprint for the upcoming postseason, tonight was a good test when the Ace only goes four innings. The White Sox bullpen held on, Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez provided the offense as the White Sox have won three straight against Oakland. 

It took 21 pitches before Lance Lynn recorded an out. Mark Canha walked and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Starling Marte threw his bat at a cutter that found itself into right field for a single. Later, Marte would steal second base to put Lynn in a bind to start the game. A golden opportunity for Oakland to put multiple runs off the American League Cy Young front runner. 

Then Lynn found his rhythm. Striking out both Matt Olson and Jed Lawrie before escaping the jam when Josh Harrison grounded out to second base. That ability to put up a scoreless frame even throwing 31 pitches in the first inning.

While Oakland failed to cash in on a run-scoring opportunity, Eloy Jimenez didn’t miss his shot in the first inning. After a beautifully placed bunt single by Cesar Hernandez and a 108-mph liner single from Jose Abreu, A’s starting pitcher Paul Blackburn tried to sneak a high fastball by Jimenez. Not being fooled, Jimenez roped a double down the left-field line to plate Hernandez to put the White Sox ahead.  

Lynn had deja vu in the third inning. Canha reached on a double. Then Marte hit a rocket at Tim Anderson, which bounced into his stomach instead of the glove. Olson drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. 

For his second Houdini act, Lynn repeated the first act by striking out both Lawrie and Harrison. As the crowd got on their feet to encourage their starter in a full count against Matt Chapman, everyone let out a sigh of relief when the infield pop-up landed in Anderson’s glove. 

Still a 1-0 game in the fourth inning, Lynn watched Seth Brown lift a fly ball into the White Sox bullpen for a solo home run. Brown’s first-ever opposite-field home run tied the game. After Lynn finally got Canha out with a 6-3 groundout, he was at 88 pitches after four innings. 

When Lynn went to the dugout, umpires were inspecting his glove and cap. Later during the broadcast, it was shown someone throwing a belt over the railing. The umpire then proceeded to throw Lynn out of the game. His night ending at 4 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 4 K. With a high pitch count, more than likely, Lynn’s night was done after the fifth inning. After the game, it was announced Lynn was tossed for throwing his belt at the umpire. 

Because Lynn didn’t go five innings, he wasn’t in a position to get the win, but the White Sox did retake the lead in the fourth inning. Yoan Moncada and Brian Goodwin walked to set the table for Luis Robert. On the first pitch, Robert ripped a grounder through the infield driving in Moncada to make it a 2-1 game. Like the first inning, there was an opportunity for the White Sox to put more on the board, but Jake Lamb struck out, and Seby Zavala grounded out to end the inning. 

Garrett Crochet was first out of the bullpen. A pretty quiet inning as he induced two ground balls, one resulting in an inning-ending double play. Ryan Tepera was tasked the sixth inning and allowed a single to Harrison but got the next three hitters out without much issue. 

Luis Robert tacked on another RBI in the sixth inning. Just like the fourth inning, Moncada and Goodwin both reached on base with a single and walk. Sergio Romo replaced Blackburn, and on the very first pitch, Robert pulled the slider through the infield to plate Moncada again. 

Up 3-1, things got a bit weird in the seventh inning defensively. Elvis Andrus hit a fly to center field that Robert made his way into position to catch but instead slipped. An easy-out turned into a leadoff triple.

Then Canha hit a grounder down the left-field line, which Moncada fielded. Andrus was enough off the bag that, if Moncada wanted, could have chased him down for a tag out. Instead, Moncada made a wide throw to the first base that Abreu initially had in his glove, but the ball popped out as he fell to the ground. The ground caused a fumble, and Canha was safe on the throwing error. 

Marte hit a deep enough fly to center field that Robert could keep his grounding to catch it, but the sacrifice fly made it 3-2. That was the end of Tepera’s night, and Tony La Russa went to Aaron Bummer to face Matt Olson and Jed Lawrie. Bummer punched out Olson with a 1-2 slider, and after walking Lawrie on a check swing, Harrison grounded out to second, ending the threat. 

Oakland again added the pressure in the eighth inning as Bummer allowed singles to Yan Gomes and Stephen Piscotty. That made La Russa call for his closer Liam Hendriks to get the final five outs. 

Hendriks got Mitch Moreland to ground out sharply to Abreu at first base, and then Canha flew out to Robert in center field, ending that rally. In the ninth inning, Hendriks was amped up to level 11. Striking out the side, finishing with an exclamation point 99-mph fastball against Lawrie. 

Game Notes:

  • White Sox bullpen combined 5 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K
  • Luis Robert went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI. He’s now carrying a .899 OPS for the season. 
  • With Cleveland losing, the White Sox division lead is now 12 games. Houston also lost, which moves the White Sox ahead to the second seed. 

Record: 71-50 | Box Score | StatCast

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Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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itaita

So did he fail the inspection or just get tossed for throwing the belt. That does make a big difference in possible suspensions correct?

Jim Margalus

Throwing the belt, which he said he did because he was in a rush.

Jim Margalus

And he was in a rush because the umpire wasn’t where he was supposed to be.

vince

My headcanon is Lance Lynn was in a rush to poop between innings.

Joliet Orange Sox

Just watch the video clip from RickeyBlog above and you’ll understand everything. The announcers on that clip are incredibly clear and insightful about what happened. That clip alone might result in the Ford C. Frick award for the guy who says:

“Well, I’ll do it. I’ll speculate. Could be a matter of. Don’t know if it’s a sticky substance check. I have no idea! That’s why I said I’ll speculate because I have zero basis to make that – make that argument but if I’m, we’re telling me Zavala got ran and Lance Lynn’s got issues with it.”

ParisSox

when I hear announcers from other teams, I’m so grateful for ours

Willardmarshall

Would’ve been a helluva catch if Robert had managed to recover in the seventh….

shaggy65

That ejection probably saved the game for the White Sox. I don’t know how Lynn only gave up 1 run the first two times through the order, but there’s a decent chance he gets clobbered in the 5th.

Don’t know what his health issue is, but hopefully it doesn’t linger. Tonight’s Lance did not have his best stuff.

jhomeslice

Yeah, even getting out of the bases loaded jam seemed more lucky than anything. He was basically nibbling and counting on guys swinging at non-strikes, not really going after hitters at all.

xubrent

Somedays you need a little bit of luck and have to win based on the overall quality of the team. Yesterday they won by stopping the leaks before the pipe bursts and by getting timely hits. I like it.

asinwreck

Irascible staff ace with wardrobe complaints?

Lance Lynn is Funhouse Mirror Chris Sale.

texag10

See, I was getting Samardzija vibes. Trade for a pitcher who goes full on redass from time to time? But this time its actually fun because he’s not shitting the bed every 5 days?

Jason

Feels good to see the team win a series against a real team again. Not counting the AAA Cubs, this is only the second series win since beating the Astros after the All-Star break.

After Tampa / Toronto, would be nice to see the team revert to bum-slaying against the Cubs/Pirates/Royals to build up a cushion in the AL playoff seeds.

peterskills

I was at the game, sitting in the Goose Island section for the first time. I mention my seating location only to indicate how far I was from home plate and the Sox dugout. I had no idea what happened with Lynn until I read it in this recap. I assumed he was just pulled due to pitch count. What I’m saying is, is it too much to ask for Gene Honda announce player ejections?

Anyway, lovely night for a baseball game. It was nice to pull out a win despite walking a tightrope basically the whole game. And then Hendriks pitches a 1-2-3 9th, which I really appreciated. Robert’s hitting has picked up where it left off in May, which is great.

lifelongjd

Nice for Crochet to vulture a win as he’s been the one who has taken most of the L’s in extra innings this season.