The numbers are nice but the story is better. (@WhiteSox)
Dylan Cease’s start couldn’t have been rockier. His follow-up couldn’t have been smoother. And the Chicago White Sox pecked away and then boomed away for an 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers, so the players celebrating on the first game of Players’ Weekend were the ones in the good-guy black outfits.
Four batters in, the Sox rookie had given up a walk, a 103 mph single to Elvis Andrus, a wild pitch, and a 401-foot, 102.3 mph three-run homer to Willie Calhoun. Looked grim.
Cease left the game 19 batters later, having retired the next 11 Rangers before giving up just two more singles and getting a career-high (OK, short career, but still) nine strikeouts. The two singles led off the fifth inning, but a strikeout, a Shin-Soo Choo blast Leury García caught a few feet short of the wall and a routine fly later, Cease was out of the inning.
Cease picked up his third win and registered a game score of 60, by far his best in the bigs. He gets credit for a quality start, tossing 56 strikes out of 95 pitches over six innings. The mighty triumvirate of the bullpen took over, with Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer, and Alex Colomé cruising aside for a hit batter by The Horse in the ninth.
Forgetting Sarah did get some nice help from Tim Anderson in the seventh:
Meanwhile, the offense picked up two runs in the second, when Lance Lynn showed that even 14-game winners can get sloppy by walking Matt Skole and Yolmer Sánchez with two outs, after which Adam Engel came through with a soft liner just over third that scored them both. (See, Sox guys and bosses and fans — taking walks truly is important. Really. Honest.)
The Sox took the lead for good in the fourth. Jon Jay singled, advanced on one of Lynn’s four wild pitches on the night — that’s right, four of ’em — and scored on a Sánchez single. Yolmer scored on a double by Leury, who was driven in on an Anderson bloop to right.
That made it 5-3, and the Sox added three more in the sixth when Leury singled, took second and third on two wild pitches, then scored on the hardest-hit ball of the night, a 109.6 mph, 403-foot double by José Abreu. Yoán Moncada then belted one that had less velocity and less distance than Jose’s (102/393), but a better sense of direction:
That closed out a big offensive night, with every Sox batter but James McCann getting at least one of the team’s 12 hits, and García, Anderson, Moncada and Jay getting two apiece. In the process, Anderson and Sánchez both extended their hitting streaks.
Game three of the series will begin at 6:10 p.m. CDT tomorrow. Iván Nova. who has gone from 4-9 to 9-9, will try to get on the plus side of the win-loss ledger, opposing Rangers rookie Kolby Allard, who sports a 6.60 ERA and gave up six earned runs to the Angels in five innings last time out. Ashley Sanders is going to try to bring the sunglasses emoji over the South Side Hit Pen, in her recap debut here.