White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Jose Abreu’s blast staves off sweep

Eighth-inning solo shot helps White Sox head into home opener with winning record

It wasn’t easy, but the White Sox escaped Toronto with a win.

Credit Jose Abreu for taking the help he could get. For the second time in the season’s first five games, a White Sox hitter used a 3-0 count to put the team ahead. In this case, it was Abreu taking Ryan Tepera’s 3-0 fastball way out over the center field wall for a go-ahead solo shot that held up as the game-winner.

Nate Jones and Joakim Soria had to survive an array of fly balls to close it out. Leury Garcia changed the course of the game in a good way, bailing out Jones with a leaping catch at the wall, which took away extra bases from Justin Smoak to start the eighth. Garcia had just entered the game as a pinch runner in the top of the inning.

(Once again, Soria recorded the save, but Jones had the tougher job. He entered the game with two outs in the seventh to get Josh Donaldson, then had to face Toronto’s 3-4-5 in the eighth.)

The Sox needed Abreu to go deep because they once again had little luck with runners on base. They went just 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position while grounding into four double plays.

Even the hit required lawyering. Yoan Moncada came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded against Aaron Sanchez, who’d loaded the bases with a walk, single and HBP while arguing with home plate umpire Greg Gibson.

Moncada sent the first pitch he saw high to left field, sending Curtis Granderson all the way to the wall. Granderson leapt and came down without the ball in his glove … but the ball fell into his glove while he was on his back. Moncada was deprived a hit, and he didn’t even get the RBI because Welington Castillo was off third base and not in tagging position.

However, Rick Renteria came out to challenge, and he had a point. The replay showed that the ball hit the wall behind Granderson’s glove, meaning that the catch on the track didn’t count. After a review, Moncada was awarded an RBI single. It survived subsequent debate from Toronto manager John Gibbons, who wanted to know if Moncada passed Adam Engel at first base (he did, but after Moncada was ruled out).

Avisail Garcia then got plunked by a 1-0 pitch to bring another run home, but Abreu’s attempt to jump the first pitch resulted in a 4-6-3 double play.

Carson Fulmer pitched a scoreless fifth to keep it a 3-1 game, but he ran into problems an inning later. Donaldson singled to start the inning, and Smoak moved him to third with a laced double to right.

Rick Renteria called for Aaron Bummer to face Granderson, and Gibbons countered by sending Steve Pearce to the plate. Bummer ended up facing three righties and a switch-hitter, and he ended up giving up two RBI singles. (Yolmer Sanchez had prevented another run temporarily by getting Smoak at home on a chopper.)

Danny Farquhar came in to face Kevin Pillar and got an inning-ending groundout to short, and one wonders why that didn’t happen batters sooner. At least he managed the last three pitchers well.

Fulmer came away with the no-decision, but it was an encouraging outing on the whole. He allowed just one run through five innings, and that run was the result of quality damage control. He faced runners on second and third because both Adam Engel and Avisail Garcia dropped tough-but-catchable flyballs in center, both of which could’ve been called errors but were ruled doubles.

Fulmer settled down by getting a comebacker for the first out, a run-scoring groundout to short, and then striking out Kendrys Morales.

He also stranded a pair of runners in the first to show the ability to bear down, and he also breezed through the second, third and fifth innings. The line won’t impress you — 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K — but he pitched better than that.

Record: 3-2 | Box score

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Jim Margalus
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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Patrick Nolan

Good stuff from Fulmer today.  His goal is to make things interesting for management once Kopech and Rodon are ready for the 25-man, and this is a step in the right direction.

ChiSox8305

Agree.  Carson almost joined Giolito and Lopez with a quality start during this first time through the rotation. Fairly good first week of 2018.

Trooper Galactus

If Fulmer can make Shields and MiGo expendable, that’s a win in more ways than one.

sausalito pale hose

I for one think that Fullmer will be one of five future aces by the end of Season; including Rodon, Giolito, Lopez, and Kopec. Although, there may be someone other than Kopec if he runs into a mechanics problem

I’m far more concerned about Fulmer’s mechanics than Kopech’s. And don’t forget about Hansen; he stands a good chance of forcing the issue by September.

Greg Nix

Yeah, kind of a shame the final line wasn’t better as he could probably use the statistical ballast when he inevitably gets blown up. 

35Shields

Through the first turn through the rotation, he has the lowest FIP by a country mile and the highest GB%. I’d say this was a fine start from a statistical perspective

StockroomSnail

Blow the whistle, baby!

Amar

Is it me or does Ricky appear to have a better rate of overturning calls than Ventura? Is there publicly available data to support such a claim?

Trooper Galactus

It would be virtually impossible to not top Ventura in that category. He was patently awful at it.

zerobs

Ventura, and even Gibbons to a large extent, seemed to challenge whenever one of their players whines. Renteria seems to take a more intelligent approach

Amar

Wow, cool, they even break the challenges down by type. It’s hilarious that overall, the percentage is nearly identical between the two. Thanks Jim

Trooper Galactus

Well, keep in mind there were instances when Ventura probably SHOULD have challenged but didn’t bother.

lil jimmy

Those long Home Runs. Why aren’t the balls bright yellow? Like other tennis balls.

Reindeer Games

Tennis balls aren’t green?

Ted Mulvey

Roger Federer says they’re yellow.