Chicago White Sox drop series opener 7-5 in Tampa Bay
In a rather high-scoring affair considering the participants, the Tampa Bay Rays took the first of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
White Sox starter John Danks had issues, allowing five runs (three earned) over 5.1 innings. It was a solid start for Tampa’s Matt Andriese, who gave up many hard-hit balls but did not allow an earned run (two unearned) in 5.2 innings. It was also his first win of 2015.
The Rays got the scoring started in the bottom of the third as Nick Franklin led off the inning with a walk, and Mikie Mahtook followed him with a single.
Rene Rivera moved both runners along with a sacrifice bunt. Brandon Guyer put the Rays on the board 1-0 with a single, and the next hitter Joey Butler singled as well. With the score 2-0 Tampa Bay and runners on the corners, Evan Longoria popped out to second base, and Logan Forsythe struck out to end the inning.
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As the top of the fifth inning came along, the White Sox tied things up.
Rookie Carlos Sanchez reached with a one-out walk, and then Adam Eaton bunted. Rene Rivera attempted to throw Eaton out at first; however, the throw was poor and got down the line. Sanchez scored from first, and Eaton was able to reach third with one out.
Alexei Ramirez came to the plate next, driving Eaton home with a sac fly to center. Jose Abreu ended the inning with a strikeout.
John Danks was unable to keep the Rays off the board in the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, Joey Butler reached on an infield single. Longoria followed with a roller through the right side of the infield, putting runners at the corners with one out.
The Rays were able to drive home a runner on third with a sac fly to center field (Forsythe knocked in Butler).
Tampa Bay added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. After Jake Elmore led off the inning with an infield single, Nick Franklin hit a ground ball down to third. Gordon Beckham charged it and while off balance was able to get the ball across the diamond to Abreu at first base. However, Abreu was not able to make the catch on the low throw, and was given an error.
After Mahtook bunted both runners over to second and third, Danks was pulled and Daniel Webb was brought in to face Rene Rivera.
Rivera hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Elmore, and advancing Franklin to third base. Kevin Kiermaier pinch hit for Brandon Guyer and promptly singled to center, making the score 5-2 Rays.
With runners on first and second and Joey Butler up, Daniel Webb gave up another hit. That scored Rivera, giving the Rays a 6-2 lead. Webb would be able to retire the next two hitters with no more damage.
Jun 12, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Carlos Sanchez (5) scores a run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The White Sox got right back in the game in the next half inning. Tyler Flowers led off the inning with a single, and Sanchez batted next, as he reached first; however, it was on a fielder’s choice that cost the Sox an out.
Eaton followed up Sanchez with a single, giving Ramirez an RBI opportunity. Ramirez faced the Rays third pitcher of the night, that being Brandon Gomes. After a wild pitch, Ramirez had runners on first and second with one out.
Ramirez hit a ground ball to shortstop that scored Sanchez and advanced Eaton to third.
Abreu followed Ramirez with a line drive home run down the first base line which hit the foul pole, his third home run in three games.
The top of the seventh came to an end with the score 6-5 Tampa Bay.
Starting the bottom of the seventh, White Sox reliever Junior Guerra made his MLB debut. It came with mixed results, as the leadoff hitter (Steven Souza) reached on a soft line drive which either Ramirez or Sanchez should have caught.
Jake Elmore followed with a single to right field, putting Guerra in a jam to start his MLB career. Both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch, which should have been handled by Flowers.
Nick Franklin drove home Souza with a single, and advanced Elmore to third.
An unconventional double-play helped Guerra out, as Elmore tried to score on a ground ball back to the pitcher. He was thrown out at home; however, on the play, Franklin attempted to make it all the way to third base on the play. Beckham made a quick throw to third where Ramirez was covering. Franklin was tagged out, and Rivera followed that play with a strikeout.
Guerra didn’t allow any runs in the bottom of the eighth, but he did get into some trouble. Rays closer Jake McGee didn’t get into any trouble in the top of the ninth, who retired Flowers and Sanchez on strikeouts and Eaton on a lineout to left.
Tonight’s game may end up being the highest-scoring of the weekend. If Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale are close to being on, expect the Sox to hold down the Rays to fewer runs the next couple of days.
Of course they have to face one of the best starters in the league, that being Chris Archer, Saturday.
The rest of the games until the All-Star break will not be easy for the Sox, and if they can be around .500 it would be a victory.
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