White Sox Fall Behind Early, Drop Game 2 Despite Late Comeback
It got ugly early. It stayed that way, despite the best effort of A's closer Liam Hendriks to let the White Sox back into the game.
And boy, did Hendriks make it interesting for a while.
But, what the heck, who wanted an easy sweep, anyway?
It should have been a pitchers' duel, but Dallas Keuchel was more, oh, uh, maybe Midland or Odessa than Dallas. The A's downright clobbered him from the start, as, despite a nice big strike zone he kept leaving pitches up and hittable.
It looked like Keuchel would get out of the first despite three hits when he got Matt Olson hit a two-out grounder to the right side, but the ball hit the edge of the grass and Nick Madrigal booted it and let two runs in.
In the second, Keuchel got a break when a Sean Murphy shot went a couple of feet foul, but then Murphy singled and Marcus Semien hit a 418-foot shot to make it 4-0. A Khris Davis solo shot in the fourth took it to 5-0 and it was time to check out pitchers for Thursday.
That's because A's ace Chris Bassitt (yeah, yeah, one of the guys the White Sox gave up for Jeff Samardzija) didn't have his best stuff early, but recovered quickly. He was in trouble in the third when Madrigal singled and was stealing second when Tim Anderson singled to right as Madrigal was already lined up for his slide, so he had to stop at second.
Yoán Moncada then got the Sox' first blast of the day, but Mark Canha leapt up the left field wall to make the grab, after which Bassitt downed 11 in a row. The Sox got singles from pinch hitter Nomar Mazara and Adam Engel in the seventh, but a strikeout for pinch hitter Zack Collins and a groundout for Madrigal—who would really like to have this game back, since he even gathered a second error, though a harmless one—ended that inning.
Relievers Jimmy Cordero, Dylan Cease—yes, that Dylan Cease—and Codi Heuer held the A's down, and when Bassitt got pulled after an Anderson single in the eighth things got interesting for a while. Bob Melvin brought in closer Hendriks and Hendriks had zilch.
Yes, there was hope. For a while.
Hendriks struck out Moncada, but Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run shot to make it 5-2. José Abreu singled, then Mazara got rung up on a bad 3-2 call, even for an ump with a big strike zone.
That brought up Luis Robert, who K'ed to finish it.
Defensively, the ninth featured a beautiful sliding Adam Engel catch on a pop to right. Offensively, he struck out; Jerrod Dyson, who had come in after Collins hit for Leury García, ditto on a properly-called third strike.
But Madrigal kept the game alive with a single to center. Anderson got his third hit to bring the tying run to the plate in the person of Casey at the bat—er, Moncada, who walked to load 'em up.
A's manager Bob Melvin gave Hendriks the longest leash imaginable, one you could pull a steamship with, but he finally pulled on the choke collar and brought in lefty Jake Diekman, who proceed to walk Grandal, make it 5-3 and put the tying run at second and lead run at first with Abreu at the plate.
Talk about Casey. Abreu hit it sharply, but right into a 4-3 final out.