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The White Sox finished the season series against the New York Yankees 1-5, but you probably can’t blame them walking away from this one thinking they beat themselves.
Lucas Giolito didn’t have full power on his stuff at the onset of the start and worked himself into early inefficiency problems. César Hernández committed three errors. Tony La Russa didn’t use a challenge on a couple plays that merited one.
And even then, they made a game of it, with the tying runs on base with one out in the ninth inning.
Unfortunately, Hernández capped a lousy game by grounding into a double play, which was characteristic of an offense that didn’t want for baserunners, but struggled to get the ball in the air afterward. (Not to mention that Miguel Cairo finally used the challenge on a play where the baserunner was clearly out.)
The White Sox lost their second consecutive series as a result. Cleveland won, which means the White Sox’s magic number finally stayed put on a day they played for the first time all month. Their lead in the AL Central is still 10 games.
It was a slog from the beginning, with Giolito throwing 33 pitches with two walks in a scoreless first, then giving up three runs in a similarly laborious second on a two-run homer by Rougned Odor and a Brett Gardner hustle double that scored DJ LeMahieu from first because a shifted Hernández’s throw to second escaped Tim Anderson.
That error was more on Anderson than Hernández, as it would’ve been better to block the throw than attempting a swipe tag. The other two were on Hernández, including a booted grounder behind second base that spoiled Giolito’s slim chances of starting a fifth inning.
On the other side of the ball, Nestor Cortes and the Yankees bullpen limited the White Sox to an Andrew Vaughn solo shot through the first eight inning, but Vaughn twice came to the plate with two on and two outs and grounded out both times.
The White Sox had plenty of traffic on the bases, but struggled to move them for more than a base at a time. They outhit the Yankees 10-9 and drew four walks, but eight of those hits were singles, and the White Sox grounded into three double plays, including two by Hernández (he truly had an awful game).
The Sox might’ve been able to overturn the one Tim Anderson hit into that ended the seventh, as it appeared as though he beat the throw. La Russa didn’t challenge it, even though it was a higher-leverage opportunity than Hernández’s one-out bunt single attempt that fell on the wrong side of a bang-bang play.
The Sox didn’t have an extra-base hit inside the park until the ninth, when Zack Collins’ drive off lefty Lucas Luetge once again couldn’t clear the wall of a power alley, but this time escaped the grasp of the outfielder. Aaron Judge couldn’t flag it down, and the Sox had their first hit with runners in scoring position all game while narrowing the lead to 5-2.
Anderson then beat out a 3-1 putout attempt for a run-scoring infield single that put runners on the corners for Hernández, but that’s when he grounded into his second double play, and a no-doubter at that.
The two-run deficit made Luke Voit’s two-run homer off Matt Foster loom larger in the top of the ninth, but it’s hard to fault the White Sox bullpen as a whole, which succeeded by pitching carefully. Ryan Tepera, Jose Ruíz and Aaron Bummer walked five batters over four innings, but they also struck out seven without allowing a hit. They’re a big reason why the Yankees were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Had the Sox been a little more on top of their game in any facet, perhaps New York is the side grumbling at itself after this series.
*Seby Zavala extended the inning with a passed ball on a good Tepera slider for strike three, but no further damage resulted from the play.
*Hernández’s third error was an errant toss on a relatively routine double play that allowed Kyle Higashioka to advance to second.
*White Sox pitchers walked eight in nine innings and had to throw 209 pitches, as opposed to 150 from five Yankees.
*La Russa was ejected by Mike Estabrook for arguing balls and strikes, ostensibly to protect Eloy Jiménez from getting ejected arguing a strike three that Statcast called in the zone.