White Sox drop a 5-3 heartbreaker to Cleveland

Joe Resis

The White Sox got a pair of clutch hits in the top of the 10th, but it ultimately was not enough, as Cleveland rallied in the bottom half to pull out a 5-3 win.

Reynaldo López got the start for the White Sox, looking to build on his last start, when he got six strikeouts in 5 ⅓ innings against Minnesota. Unfortunately, like the game against Minnesota, López could not avoid the long ball. In the bottom of the first, César Hernández greeted López with a solo home run. The 420-footer was the third of the season for Hernández, and it put Cleveland ahead, 1-0.

Cleveland threatened again in the third, after the White Sox barely failed to turn what would have been an inning-ending double play. After López issued a walk, Cleveland had runners on first and second with two outs. Up to the plate stepped José Ramírez, who entered play with a .290/.376/.595 slash line. Ramírez launched a 329-foot fly ball to right, but Nomar Mazara tracked it down to end the inning.

Meanwhile, Cleveland starting pitcher Cal Quantrill pitched four scoreless innings. Quantrill was near the top of his game, so he deserves credit for his performance. It is worth mentioning, however, that home plate umpire Ángel Hernández helped Quantrill out a bit.

The White Sox's first major scoring threat occurred in the top of the fifth, just after Quantrill left the game. After a Nomar Mazara single, the White Sox had the bases loaded and only one out. Nick Madrigal had an opportunity to turn things around for the offense, but he hit a soft ground ball back to the mound. Cleveland turned a 1-2-3 double play, and the inning was over.

In the bottom of the fifth, López pitched around a Tim Anderson error for another scoreless inning. That concluded what turned out to be a strong outing for López. His final line was five innings, one run, three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. The White Sox will gladly accept those kinds of numbers.

Although the White Sox squandered a great opportunity to score, they finally got on the board in the sixth with two outs and nobody on base. That was when José Abreu, MVP frontrunner, crushed his 19th home run of the season. Abreu's homer was a 399-footer to right-center field, and it tied the game, 1-1.

Reliever Codi Heuer was even more effective than López was after the Hernández home run. In two innings, Heuer only allowed one baserunner. That lucky player was Franmil Reyes, who singled on a ball that had a .060 expected batting average.

Rookie Garrett Crochet covered the eighth, and once again, he used his insane velocity to pitch a scoreless inning. During Crochet's inning, he averaged 100.3 mph on his fastball, topping out at an unbelievable 101.5.

Thanks to the incredible performance by the young relievers, the game remained tied at one after eight. In the ninth, the White Sox threatened, as back-to-back singles by Eloy Jiménez and Edwin Encarnación put runners on the corners with two outs. James McCann worked the count full before striking out on an excellent slider on the outside corner to end the threat. In the bottom half, Alex Colomé delivered a 1-2-3 inning to send the game into extras.

In the 10th, the White Sox started with McCann on second base, and Luis Robert at the plate. After a couple of, well, questionable calls, Robert eventually struck out. At that point, Rick Rentería and Tim Anderson let Ángel Hernández know their (correct) thoughts on his umpiring, resulting in them getting ejected.

Shortly after the ejections, the White Sox broke through. Adam Engel slashed a triple into the left-center field gap to drive in the go-ahead run. Then, Nick Madrigal sliced a single past the infielders, who were playing rather shallow to protect against a squeeze, to push the lead to 3-1.

From there, the White Sox just needed one more good inning from the bullpen, and with two outs, things went off the rails. Foster set down the first two Cleveland hitters he faced, but that is where trouble started. Francisco Lindor drove in a run with a double off the center field wall. Then, Foster walked César Hernández, who represented the potential winning run. José Ruiz entered the game and had to face Ramírez, Cleveland's best hitter.

To many White Sox fans, the decision to drop Ruiz into such a high-leverage situation seemed odd. Unfortunately, Ruiz could not prove them wrong, as Ramírez hit a walk-off, three-run home run, his 17th homer of the year.

Cleveland improved to 31-24, while the White Sox fell to 34-21. These two teams will square off again tomorrow for what will be the third of a four-game series. That game will start at 5:10 CST, and Lucas Giolito is set to take on Shane Bieber in a battle between two of baseball's best.

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Comments (2)
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Mark Liptak
Mark Liptak

By the way Joe the decision to use Ruiz was Joe McEwing's, Renteria had been ejected. Which goes to show the manager isn't the only idiot on the Sox coaching staff.

Mark Liptak
Mark Liptak

Nothing more to say, the arrow is pointing down after this crushing loss. Yea I'm a pessimist, I've been a Sox fan for 60 years and I've seen this choke act far to many times. 1967-1996-2003-2012. Three up with 10 to go and they are urinating it all away. Just sickening. Colome supposedly had back spasms in the dugout and couldn't continue. Typical White Sox. Seems like every player has back / leg issues. Maybe someone needs to ask the front office what exactly the medical / training / conditioning staff is doing to earn their salaries and keep guys healthy. Still shaking and angry over this tonight. Naturally the Tigers coughed up two late leads, the Twins won and the lead is down to a half game. Other than that it was a wonderful day!