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Liam Hendriks has faced the Yankees three times this year, and every outing has been a disaster in a different shape.
In Yankee Stadium on May 23, he entered a tie game with the bases loaded and walked in the winning run on five pitches.
On Thursday in Iowa, he blew a four-run lead by allowing a pair of two-run shots by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
And tonight, he entered a tie game in the 10th inning and allowed the Manfred Man to score on a Judge single, followed by yet another two-run homer. Joey Gallo hit this one, and it decided the game. The White Sox cashed in their automatic runner, but Seby Zavala lined out and Tim Anderson grounded out with the bases loaded to end the game.
If there’s any consolation for Hendriks, Craig Kimbrel allowed his own homer, a solo shot to Judge that gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. But like the ninth inning in Dyersville, the White Sox had an answer when José Abreu worked a 3-1 count against Chad Green, swung over a fastball, fouled back two fastballs, then waited back on a rolling curve an deposited it well into the left-center bleachers to extend the game.
Alas, Hendriks had the same problem as Kimbrel, in that fastballs that grabbed too much of the plate were punished.
Despite the outcome, you can’t say a sellout crowd of 38,477 got robbed. They saw a game that was knotted at 2 after two, 3 after three, and then remained scoreless until the stars homered late.
Take five feet away from two Yankees fly balls and give it to the White Sox, and this game probably looks a lot different. After D.J. LaMahieu’s leadoff double came around to score on a pair of flies, Gallo hit the first of his two homer on a high fly that dropped just into the Kraft Kave for a quick 2-0 lead.
Likewise, Judge’s missile off Kimbrel in the eighth inning only had a launch angle of 17 degrees, but Judge’s ungodly strength gave it the power it needed to clear the center field wall by inches.
The White Sox could have used that luck on a couple drives to left center. In the third inning, Brett Gardner flagged down Eloy Jiménez’s fly against the wall, and what looked like a possible three-run homer off the (end of his) bat ended up a mere sac fly that tied the game at 3.
And in the sixth, the Sox loaded the bases with a pair of singles, a productive groundout by Brian Goodwin, and an intentional walk to Luis Robert on lefty Lucas Luetge’s third batter. Tony La Russa called for Andrew Vaughn, so Aaron Boone went for Jonathan Loaisiga.
Loiasaga’s power sinker broke Vaughn’s bat and resulted in a force at home for the second out, leaving the situation up to Zack Collins. Collins did what he could, working a full count after falling behind 1-2. Forced to come into the zone, Loaisiga emptied it out. Collins fouled off 100.4 mph, then redirected 101.1 mph to the same alley, and Gardner caught it with just a little room to spare.
That’s how the White Sox went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and while it wasn’t as bad as it looked, every bit of it was felt.
The Sox instead had to settle for single runs in the first three innings against Jameson Taillon. Anderson started the game with a single, moved to third on Abreu’s double, then scored on a Jiménez groundout to second. In the second, Taillon tried one too many high fastballs to Robert — or at least one that wasn’t high enough — and Robert lined it over the right-center fence for a game-tying solo shot.
And after Cease made a couple two-out mistakes to Gardner and Judge for a Yankee run in the top of the third, Jiménez came through with his near-homer in the bottom of the frame.
Cease sharpened up over the course of the last two innings, but his inefficiency over the first three innings limited him to five overall. Taillon pitched to a batter in the sixth but didn’t retire him, so they ended up with effectively the same line (5 IP, 3 ER).
*Judge went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Perhaps the White Sox should let somebody else beat them.
*Abreu went 4-for-5 himself, so the Yankees have to revisit their own game plan.
*Hendriks has allowed 11 homers over 50 innings.
*The White Sox are 1-4 against the Yankees, but three of those games were decided by one run on walk-off events, and this one was a two-run margin in extras.
*Cleveland lost to Detroit, so the White Sox’s magic number has fallen every day they’ve played in August.