The White Sox have not been much for two-out rallies all season, or rallies of any kind. To mitigate that, Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza simplified the process by whacking home runs when the prospect of a “knock in a run or end the inning” scenario sat before them. With two outs and two on in the top of forth, Viciedo tucked his hands in and blew open Twins starter Andrew Albers‘ strategy of busting righties inside, yanking a three-run home run deep into the left field seats to place the Sox up 5-3.
With two outs in the top of the ninth and the Sox headed to a teeth-rattling bottom half with Addison Reed clutching to a 6-5 advantage, De Aza whipped around on a hanging slider from Casey Fien and lofted it above the flower pots in right for two insurance runs, ensuring an easy 8-5 win, even though Reed looked like he could stood up to more pressure. That’s two wins in a row (0n the road!) for the White Sox. Celebrate responsibly.
Another two-out sorta-rally brought fruit in the top of the eighth inning when Adam Dunn skied an easy out to left field. The runners–Alejandro De Aza and Paul Konerko–set off around the diamond as they are required to do, and Twins left fielder pulled up short of the warning track, ready to haul it in.
Then Willingham waived suddenly in confusion, right as the ball dropped on the outfield grass 15 feet to his left. Konerko, having legs that passed into the next world years ago, managed to not score on the play, so the White Sox wound up with just a single extra run to pad their then 6-3 lead. Ryan Doumit quickly clubbed a two-run home run off an overused Nate Jones in the bottom half of the inning, and the dropped fly ball was set up to be the difference in the game for a fun 15 minutes before De Aza ruined it.
It just so happened to be Chris Sale Day as well, and since we’re halfway through a recap of Chris Sale Day and only just got done detailing the offense’s exploits, it was a very unusual Chris Sale Day indeed.
Through the first eight batters he faced on the night, it was pretty obvious Sale had his slider working. He struck out five in the first 2.2 innings, whipping the ball back over the plate too late for any human being to reasonably act. Over the next five hitters, he showed that fastball command is something that comes and goes, and goes, and goes.
After allowing back-to-back two-out singles to Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier, Sale hung a slider to Joe Mauer that he crushed to very top of Minnesota’s monstrous tribute to the Metrodome Hefty Bag in right field to score a pair, and followed it up by splitting the plate on a heater to Josh Willingham, who drove home Mauer with his own near-home run to dead center to make it 3-1 Twins. Even the fastball that ended the inning with a Ryan Doumit flyout was cooked to deep center. Worse yet, it was at 89 mph.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but Sale steadied himself easily and dragged himself through seven innings without any additional damage. The nine hits were less than fun to observe, but the strikeout-to-walk ratio (eight-to-one) remained absurd. Sale remains absurd.
-Twins starter Andrew Albers had his ERA raise to a hideous 1.85 after being scarred by the White Sox offense in his third career start. In seriousness, he’s reminiscent of the early days of Jose Quintana, where his entire plan was to bust righties on the hands. Just remove some velocity, a promising cutter and add four years of age and it’s the same guy.
-Avisail Garcia ripped an RBI double down the line in the fourth, but otherwise hit another groundball, got slightly jobbed on an inside fastball call, and looked bad against Casey Fien
-Nate Jones made an appearance for the 10th time in 17 games this month. Be prepared to pitch some, Jake Petricka
Team Record: 48-74 (They’re out of control right now!)
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