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Terry Francona gave the White Sox’s tiebreaker hopes a boost when he bumped back Triston McKenzie to start to rookie Hunter Gaddis, who gave up eight runs over 3⅓ innings in his first and only start a month ago.
The White Sox still had to hold up their end of the bargain by hitting an anonymous righty, which is something that can’t be taken as a given, but it proved to be little issue today. The Sox clobbered Gaddis for five homers over four consecutive innings while Lance Lynn pitched into the seventh. As a result, the Sox narrowed Cleveland’s lead in the AL Central to three games, and they still have a chance to win the season series with a sweep of next week’s three-game set.
It only looked dicey at the very beginning, when Lynn had to work around a one-out double and Yasmani Grandal whiffing on a José Ramírez pop-up for a scoreless first, followed by consecutive Cleveland doubles to start the second.
The latter inning was easier to absorb because the Sox punished Gaddis for three runs over the first three batters in the top of the second, even though Gaddis held the high ground in all three battles.
Eloy Jiménez fell behind 1-2, but drew a walk. Gavin Sheets fell behind 0-2, but fouled off five of the next seven pitches before sending the 10th pitch of the at-bat over the right-field wall for a two-run shot, and his first road homer of the year. Andrew Vaughn then made it back-to-back on an 0-2 count, even though it was a fastball up and in off the plate.
Lynn settled down to retire nine in a row, but Gaddis never settled. Or maybe the White Sox never did. Yoán Moncada crushed a full-count changeup over the deepest, highest part of the park for a 420-foot solo shot in the third. Yasmani Grandal leveled a center-cut cutter out to right in the fourth, and Elvis Andrus drove a thigh-high fastball out to center to make it a 6-1 game.
The Sox scored without the aid of a homer later that inning, with José Abreu following Moncada with the first of his two RBI singles on the day, and everybody could stand down for the rest of the afternoon. They’ll meet again next Tuesday. In between, the Sox have the easier task this weekend with three in Detroit before an off day on Monday, while the Guardians will host the Twins for five games over four days.
*AJ Pollock made a nice diving catch in left field to give Kendall Graveman his first out in the ninth, which assuaged fears about another six-run comeback.
*The five homers offset the damage from three double plays.
*Lynn lowered his ERA to 3.99, even though Aaron Bummer allowed his inherited runner to score.