First game of Chicago doubleheader yields 29 runs and Casper Wells as the White Sox's most effective pitcher
The Indians and White Sox played one of the wildest games of the season in the opener of their doubleheader Friday night in Chicago. Not because the game was particularly dramatic or had a variety of lead changes (there was no drama and only one lead-change), but because it was the highest-scoring game of the year and entered the realm of the surreal almost immediately.
The Indians recalled embattled prospect Trevor Bauer to start this game, but the White Sox knocked him out of the game in the first inning, pushing across five runs and loading the bases before Bauer could record the third out. That Chicago lead didn't last long, as the Indians knocked White Sox starter Hector Santiago out in the top of the third after scoring five runs.
Brian Omogrosso relieved Santiago, inducing a double play to leave the bases loaded and keep the game tied at 5-5, giving no indication that he was about to turn in one of the worst relief outings in the last half-decade. Over the next inning and two thirds, Omogrosso gave up nine runs, the most by a reliever in a single outing since the Royals' Vin Mazzaro gave up a landmark 14 on May 16, 2011, coincidentally also in 2 1/3 innings pitched against the Indians. Prior to Mazzaro, the last reliever to give up nine or more runs in fewer than three innings pitched was another Royal, lefty Jimmy Gobble, against the Tigers in July 2008.
Far more effective on the bump for the White Sox was outfielder Casper Wells, who was called upon to pitch the ninth for Chicago. Wells, on his fourth team this season after having passed from the Mariners to the Blue Jays then the A's and finally to the White Sox, pitched in college and showed surprising form despite not having returned to the mound since being drafted in 2005. Wells featured a low-90s fastball with movement and mixed in a sharp, mid-80s breaking pitch with which he struck out Asdrubal Cabrera for the second out of a scoreless frame.
Wells was also the only White Sox pitcher to retire Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis, who had three doubles and three walks in six previous trips, though it took an outstanding running catch by Alejandro De Aza, who had just moved to left field, to do it (Kipnis should have had another double).
When the smoke cleared, the Indians had won 19-10, tying themselves for the most runs scored by a single team in the majors this year, and combining with the White Sox to score the most combined runs in a game since the Mariners beat the Rangers 21-8 on May 30, 2012. The last time more than 29 runs were scored in a game was August 25, 2011, when the Yankees beat the A's 22-9. The game was also just the fourth nine-inning affair this season to last more than four hours, clocking in at two minutes past. The Indians then opened the nightcap by scoring four runs in the top of the first against Jose Quintana to give them 23 runs in the first ten innings of the double-header.