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From Lucas Giolito’s first inning to Liam Hendriks’ last pitch, little about tonight came easy for the White Sox.
Somehow, despite seven hits and seven walks allowed by five White Sox pitchers — one of whom left the game with an injury — only one Boston run crossed the plate. The grueling effort was worth it, because while the White Sox offense only had four at-bats with runners in scoring position, Jake Burger’s no-doubt blast off Rich Hill in the fifth inning provided all the runs they needed.
The White Sox’s difficulty getting the third out throughout the evening cast doubt during the game. Giolito retired the first two batters of the game, then allowed three straight Red Sox to reach for another early Boston lead.
In the seventh, Aaron Bummer got two routine groundouts from the first two hitters he faced before Rafael Devers thwarted him with a flared single. In came Kendall Graveman, who allowed an inside-out single to J.D. Martinez and a four-pitch walk to Xander Bogaerts before Alex Verdugo mercifully grounded out.
In the eighth, Joe Kelly opened the inning with a pair of strikeouts, but after using a tricky hesitation delivery on strike three to Franchy Cordero, he grabbed his left hamstring and headed toward the dugout. Liam Hendriks finished that inning, but stranded two walks before Andrew Vaughn caught Bogaerts’ routine fly to right, right as Josh Harrison pulled up to avoid a collision.
Imagine if Giolito hadn’t retired the last seven batters he faced on 25 pitches to get the game through six.
On the other side, Rich Hill worked his way through the first four innings on just 43 pitches before José Abreu finally canceled the postgame show with a double inside the right-field line on an 87.6 mph fastball. AJ Pollock followed with a routine bouncer to third, but Devers is prone to random defensive malfunctions, and here he fired high to Cordero at first base, and Pollock ran underneath him to reach.
Up came Jake Burger, and Hill tried to baffle him with BS. It almost worked. Burger took a 71-mph curveball for strike one, then swung through a 69-mph curve for strike two. Hill then slowed it down another two ticks, but Burger picked up the pattern. He treated it like the eephus pitch it was for the White Sox’s second-longest homer of the year and a 3-1 lead.
The White Sox didn’t pose much of a threat in other innings as they only had three other at-bats with runners in scoring position and stranded only five. Alex Cora got by with using just two pitchers, as Tanner Houck relieved Hill and worked the final three innings on Boston’s side. For one night, that was still good enough to get the White Sox back over .500.
*The White Sox played strong defense, including a diving catch by Vaughn in right that ended the sixth, a nice ranging play by Tim Anderson to his left that ended the eighth, and a clutch sliding stab and throw by Yoán Moncada at third that kept the leadoff man off base in the ninth.
*Abreu reached three times on the double and two walks. Reese McGuire was the only other member of the lineup to reach twice, on a single and a walk.
*Rain delayed the start of this game by 30 minutes.