White Sox 3, Cubs 1: Eloy Jiménez at home at Wrigley

In the comments in Patrick’s Cubs preview, a back-breaking Eloy Jiménez home run topped the wish lists of White Sox fans for this two-game series at Wrigley Field.

Jiménez delivered. OK, maybe it wasn’t so thunderous that it caused a domino effect of destruction around Wrigleyville like some wanted, but it was back-breaking in terms of the Cubs’ win probability.

Not to mention bat-breaking.

With the game tied at 1 in the ninth and James McCann at first after a leadoff single, Jiménez hit Pedro Strop’s 1-0 fastball in off the barrel, resulting in an audible cracking sound that usually signals a routine fly ball. But when the camera switched to track the ball, it followed it all the way into the first several rows of the bleachers in left.

Alex Colomé nailed down the save with his customary 1-2-3 ease, and the White Sox took the opener on the North Side.

Credit Rick Renteria for managing this game well, at least when it came to the pitching half. Ivan Nóva’s first pitch of the game ended up in the left field bleachers via a Kyle Schwarber swing, but he settled down to throw five scoreless innings afterward.

The contact had started firming up, and the heart of the order was coming up when Nova started the sixth. When the inning opened with Kris Bryant reaching on an infield single, Renteria went the proactive route by pulling Nova despite a pitch count of 70, and double-switching in order to give Aaron Bummer the opportunity to pitch more than an inning.

It worked to perfection. Bummer stranded the runner and retired all three batters he faced, then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Renteria then went to Jace Fry to start the eighth, and he struck out Schwarber, and maybe twice (the at-bat was extended by a foul tip that didn’t look like it happened). Renteria didn’t press his luck, instead going to Evan Marshall, who completed the inning.

When Jiménez gave the Sox their first lead of the game, Renteria’s job finally got easy. Take out Jiménez for Charlie Tilson, give the ball to Alex Colomé, and then go sleep in their own beds.

That pitching management gave the White Sox offense ample time to get in the game. Jiménez blew his first opportunity to put a stamp on the Crosstown Cup when he grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the first inning, and Cole Hamels kept the Sox in check through the first half of the game, preserving that 1-0 lead.

Two pitches into the sixth, the game was tied. Leury García turned the first pitch of the inning into a double to the right-center gap, which should’ve been a triple except he wasn’t running well (see the bullet points for more). Tim Anderson then hit a grounder to the hole, far enough to his right that it required a diving effort. García had time to reach third safely, but Baez checked to that side as he got to his feet before uncorking a max-effort throw in an attempt to get Anderson.

Baez sacrificed accuracy for power. He threw it way wide of Anthony Rizzo and against the dugout screen, and García motored home to tie the game. Anderson then was ruled out stealing second on Jose Abreu’s swinging strike three, as Abreu’s swing carried him over the plate. Victor Caratini didn’t appear to make contact with Abreu, but his effort to make contact gave the umpire the impression that his throw was compromised, and thus Anderson was out on the interference call.

The following inning, Yoan Moncada came to the plate as the replacement for Rondón after the double-switch, but Aaron Bummer could’ve had the at-bat he had. Compromised by his back injury, Moncada jabbed two bunt attempts before watching strike three. Jiménez’s swing didn’t cure what ails Moncada, but it erased all gripes in this game.

(And actually, maybe Moncada is healthy now. We can’t say for sure.)

Bullet points:

*García didn’t appear to get down the line with his usual speed, and he also failed to close on a fly ball that fell between him, Jiménez and Tim Anderson in not-that-shallow left center.

*Yolmer Sánchez, on the other hand, had a sensational day defensively. He cut down the lead runner three times via the 4-6 fielder’s choice, and almost turned a gem on the other side of second as well.

*Moncada was healthy enough to start a 5-6-3 double play expertly turned by Anderson.

Record: 35-36 | 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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ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Anything that can shut up drunken Cubs fans for the night should be treasured: thanks Eloy.

evenyoudorn

This night belongs to the drunken Sox fans.

TheBigHrabosky

I read that Moncada was fine to swing from the left side, but felt tightness when swinging from the right.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Then why did he bat right handed?

karkovice squad

Eloy’s next one lands in the lake.

asinwreck

Which one? Superior?

metasox

There were at least a couple times where it looked like Leury was having trouble running the bases. Almost looked like he was limping a bit

PopeDonnPall

Agreed. The last game too. It looks like a hammy again. And no way Moncada felt himself in that at bat. His posture was either total defeat or injury. Either way, not good. Jay is due back soon but Leury’s been good and I’d rather have both in the lineup than the Cordell/Tilson concoction which seems to be drinking the Delmonico juice.

lil jimmy

McCann choking up with two strikes and punching a single. That’s the way you play the game. That’s winning baseball.

PopeDonnPall

Anyone else notice after Eloy snared Javy’s liner he kinda looked back at the crowd in the bleachers then looked pretty unhappy the next time they cut to him?

I’m sure some Cub fan said something to him he didn’t like because it was about the only time I’ve seen Eloy not smiling or looking totally relaxed.

Anyway, he sure answered back the best way possible tonight.

roke1960

“Thanks, Cubs”. What a great line by Benetti after Eloy’s homer. Now a gem by Giolito tonight and another Eloy homer to put a capper on it.
But Ricky pulls another bonehead move. Why would Moncada be in the game if he’s not going to swing the bat? Can he be any more stupid? I will give him credit thought for doing a good job managing the bullpen. Great win.

GrinnellSteve

If he was going to double switch with Rondon, his only other option would have been to bring in Tilson and move Leury to the infield. Moncada played a good third.

Jay came out of last night’s game. I bet he’s already in Chicago.

I thought Ricky did a masterful job with the bullpen last night. I’ve been critical of him, but he was pushing the right buttons.

roke1960

Why double switch if the guy you are bringing in isn’t going to swing the bat? Bummer could have done that and not risked further injury to Moncada.

karkovice squad

He’s done a good job tasking Bummer and Marshall for leveraged situations.

roke1960

Yes he has. He deserves credit for that. They have been lights out.

karkovice squad

Though I do take issue with Fegan framing it as “aggressive” when pulling a mediocre starter in the 6th inning because of leverage isn’t exactly revolutionary.

phillyd

Kudos for the Sox announcing they will institute nets all the way to the foul poles this summer.

Anohito

“I’ve seen the Eloy Jimenez Home run 13 times”
“I’ve seen it 17 times”
“You guys must be getting pretty tired of that home run by now”
“No one who saw the home run would say that!”