White Sox 8, Rays 7: A Palka-powered sweep

Monster ninth-inning blast gives White Sox first four-game winning streak of the season

The thing that makes Daniel Palka compelling despite his flaws showed up again his afternoon.

Palka struck out in each of his first four times at bat against Tampa Bay Rays pitching today. Nevertheless, when he came to the plate with the game tied at 6 with two outs and a runner on first against righty Diego Castillo, he’s one of the top two White Sox you’d most like to see. He can do so much with just one pitch.

One pitch was all he needed. Castillo put his first offering where Palka likes it: a 96 mph sinker up and outer-half. Palka then put those pitches where he likes to put them: 430 feet or so away from home plate.

The homer gave the Sox the lead for good. Sure, Hector Santiago had to close it on a fittingly wobbly note, giving up a run before getting a game-ending 5-4-3 double play, but he still managed to be one of the White Sox’ most effective relievers. However it happened, the White Sox put together their first four-game winning streak this season.

The game was tied a 1, 3 and 6 as neither team’s pitching staff covered itself in glory.

James Shields lowered his ERA to a perfectly appropriate 4.50 after a quality start (he gave up four runs over six innings, but just two were earned). The bullpen had a 6-4 lead when it joined the fray in the seventh inning.

But Xavier Cedeno failed to retire any of the three batters he faced — one legit single, one unlucky single, one walk — setting another four-pitcher inning into motion. He left the bases loaded for Jeanmar Gomez, who struck out C.J. Cron but gave up a two-run single to Ji-Man Choi that tied the game at 6.

In came Jace Fry, who walked Kevin Kiermaier to reload the bases and threatened to do so to Brandon Lowe before striking him out on a full count. That’s when Renteria called for Tyler Danish, who got Carlos Gomez to ground out to second, ending the inning.

The eighth and ninth innings were breezes by comparison, as Danish and Santiago were the only pitchers used. Santiago recorded the last out of the eighth, so he picked up the win, not the save.

Early in the season, these games were just blowout losses for the White Sox. Now they’re sometimes sloppy wins.

The opener concept didn’t play much of a factor in this one, as they tagged Hunter Wood for a run on two hits and two walks over the course of five outs. Avi Garcia belted a pair of solo shots off middleman Ryan Yarbrough. The first one gave the Sox a 4-3 lead in the fifth, and the second stretched their lead to 6-4 in the seventh. Garcia also stole his first base of the year, which is hopefully a sign of a stable hamstring.

Tim Anderson also capped off a strong series, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and his 22nd stolen base. His RBI single tied the game at 1 in the second, and he factored into both runs in the third, scoring Nicky Delmonico with a single and coming home on Dustin Garneau’s first White Sox hit and RBI.

Bullet points:

*Garneau also committed his first White Sox error, effectively turning a good sacrifice bunt into an RBI triple when Garneau threw into the runner at first. The scorer split the difference and called it a bunt single, but the run was unearned.

*Leury Garcia left the game with hamstring soreness after taking a weird step on a nice running catch in the eighth inning.

*Garcia had a chance to foil the short-circuit the Rays rally in the seventh when Mallex Smith overrounded second with nobody out, but his throw to second from center gave Moncada a long hop to the other side of the bag, and Moncada couldn’t handle it.

Record: 41-70 | Box score

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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.

Articles: 3388
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ParisSox

Danish, man.  Y’all forgot about him.  

gibby32

Leury hamstring. Eloy pulled from starting lineup. I’m hoping.

lil jimmy

“Eloy’s comin’, better hide your heart, girl”

roke1960

I’m not getting my hopes up too high, but I think we’ll see Eloy tomorrow!

roke1960

Keeping in line with Jimmy’s post, “Joy to the World!”

metasox

Leury is also the backup middle infielder. If anyone, would expect Rondon. Though I suppose Yolmer could cover with Davidson playing 3B

soxexile

Which came first, Eloy getting pulled, or Leury’s hamstring?

VAChisox

Hoping for the Sox to call up Trayce Thompson?

NDSox12

Heh. There might be a riot if they do that.

Anohito

Was at a restaurant/bar watching this with my friend yesterday, told’em that Palka is looking to do one thing and he certainly did. Also when Hector was shaky for the save, I explained that he’s a sinkerballer, if he keeps the ball down he can get that DP to win and sure enough he kept it down and sure enough it was a DP. Love it when the sox play to the plan and actually win as a result for a change!