Get him on, get him over, get him in. It is a simple run-scoring formula that is easy in theory but difficult in practice. While Jose Abreu’s mad dash to the plate will get all the headlines for the Chicago White Sox, it was Adam Eaton who had the most important play of the game.
The Chicago White Sox needs Adam Eaton to come up with big games from time to time.
Adam Eaton’s fingerprints were all over the Chicago White Sox thrilling 4-3 come from behind victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. On the box score, his two walks and home run jump off the page.
Brady Singer baffled the White Sox offense throughout the afternoon. The Sox trailed 1-0 until Eaton drilled a go-ahead two-run homer to left-center field with two outs in the fifth inning. It was reminiscent of Eaton’s clutch pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning on April 11th against the Royals.
Coincidentally, that came the last time the White Sox played on a Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. Like the May 16th game, Dylan Cease started on the mound for the White Sox. The bullpen was unable to preserve the lead in the April 11th game as well so there were clearly some similarities.
The Royals tied the game on a Carlos Santana sacrifice fly in the seventh inning but the damage could have been much worse. Santana sent the ball to the warning track but Eaton leaped up a caught it against the wall to rob him of extra bases.
However, Eaton’s biggest moment of the game came in the bottom of the ninth inning. Tim Anderson led off the inning with a ground-rule double. With the runner at second base, Adam Eaton was tasked with getting the runner over.
In the eighth inning, Yasmani Grandal had a similar job. The White Sox had runners at first and second with nobody out. Grandal struck out swinging and was unable to move the runners over. Vaughn was able to move them over during the next at-bat but with two outs in the inning, the sacrifice fly or ground ball was out of the equation. The White Sox were unable to score in the inning because of this.
Eaton was determined to not let this happen again. He squared up to bunt and nearly took one off the face when a ball was fouled off the tip of his bat. After dusting the dirt off he squared up again and laid a perfect sacrifice bunt down the third base line. He nearly beat out the throw to first after Wade Davis lost his footing but the throw just beat him. Either way, the job was accomplished Anderson moved over to third with one out. The White Sox tied the game on the next pitch.
While a sacrifice bunt will get glossed over it is little things like this that win ball games. The White Sox struggled to produce runs for much of the afternoon. A runner at third with two outs to play with made Yoan Moncada’s job significantly easier and he delivered. Adam Eaton deserves a ton of credit for his contributions to this victory.