Melky Cabrera’s spectacular catch to rob Kris Bryant of a first inning home run set the tone for the White Sox thrilling victory in the first game of the crosstown series against the Cubs.
Depending on how the rest of the series plays out, Monday’s game against the Cubs will either go down as the turning point for the White Sox 2016 season or just another teaser of a game. White Sox starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez has looked fantastic over his past few starts. The veteran pitcher started against Cubs starter and defending National League Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta on Monday.
The heroics got off to an early start in the first inning when Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant sent White Sox right fielder Melky Cabrera to the warning track on a long fly ball. Cabrera timed his jump perfectly and grabbed the ball at the top of his leap before crashing back down to the dirt. The blast would have been a home run had Cabrera not made the catch.
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The scoring started in the top of the third inning when Adam Eaton drove in Tyler Saladino with a run-scoring single. Todd Frazier clubbed home run number 29 in the sixth inning, a three-run shot that plated Cabrera and Jose Abreu. Javier Baez brought Miguel Montero home to score on a two-run home run in the top of the seventh that chased Gonzalez to the showers and brought the White Sox bullpen into the game.
Dexter Fowler drove in Baez on a single in the top of the ninth inning and then a couple batters later, Anthony Rizzo brought Fowler around on a single of his own to tie the game at four. With J.B. Shuck on base, Saladino singled on a ground ball to center fielder Matt Szczur to give the White Sox its third consecutive walk-off victory following the All-Star break.
Gonzalez looked sharp again on Monday, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing just two runs on seven hits. Gonzalez also logged eight strikeouts against a generally disciplined Cubs offense. It was the White Sox bullpen that made things interesting once they took over, a tune all too familiar to White Sox fans this season. Fortunately only two runs crossed the plate in the ninth inning, allowing the White Sox offense an opportunity to put the game away if one run could be scored.
While the Sox have been on this three-game winning streak the Cleveland Indians have dropped three in a row. For a while it felt like any time the White Sox won the Indians won, or any time the White Sox lost the Indians also dropped a game. It was nearly impossible for the White Sox to gain any ground in the division no matter how lucky the team was. Now that the Indians have been losing the White Sox sit eight games back.
Cleveland had Monday off,but will begin a quick two-game series against Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. The Nationals are tied for the second best record in the National League and sport a 31-20 record at home. If the White Sox can continue to win ballgames, then keeping an eye on the scoreboard may not be a bad idea over the next couple of weeks.
The White Sox will send James Shields (4-12, 4.99) to the mound against Kyle Hendricks (9-6, 2.27) in game two of this four game series tonight. Both pitchers have surprised their respective fanbases over their last few starts, so on paper it looks to be one great pitching matchup. Beating the crosstown rivals may be just the spark this team needs to start playing like they did at the beginning of the season. The White Sox may be down but if their play over the last three games is any indication, then they may not be out just yet.
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