In the clutch: Andrew Vaughn’s single turned out to be the decisive hit in today’s victory. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)
The White Sox’s bats got off to a slow start, but they finished strong in a 5-1 victory over the Brewers.
The first run of the game scored in the top of the third inning in an unusual way. The White Sox managed to put their first two batters of the inning on base. Luis Robert singled, promptly stole second (what a surprise), and James McCann singled to put runners on the corners. Then, Leury García laid down a bunt that actually worked. García placed it nicely, as he was safe at first, and McCann advanced to third on a throwing error by Brewers catcher Jacob Nottingham. Unfortunately, that was the only run the White Sox scored that inning, despite having a golden opportunity to tack on another run.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Brewers tied it with a solo home run by Keston Hiura. Hiura, a rookie in 2019, slashed .303/.368/.570 with a 139 wRC+ last season. Even though FanGraphs was unimpressed by Hiura’s defense, his bat was enough to boost his value to 2.1 fWAR, even though he only played 84 games. This blast by Hiura was the only run White Sox starter Dylan Cease allowed in his four innings of work. Cease issued no walks, struck out five, and he looked in control against most hitters today. Cease appears ready for a big improvement over his rookie campaign, which did not go as planned.
With the game still tied at one in the seventh, the White Sox had runners on the corners with two outs after singles by García and Danny Mendick. Andrew Vaughn, up to bat in a big spot, came through with a sharp single to give the White Sox a lead that did not relinquish.
After a walk to Zack Collins to load the bases, Luis Gonzalez broke the game open with a two-run double to make it 4-1. In the eighth, Andrew Romine tacked on a run with an RBI triple, which drove in the final run of the game for either side.
As for the White Sox’s bullpen, it got the job done, too. Five relievers played in this game, and all of them (Codi Heuer, Jacob Lindgren, Caleb Frare, Kodi Medeiros, and Vince Arobio) pitched a scoreless inning. Thanks to them, there was no drama in the latter innings.
The White Sox improved to 6-5 this spring. They will face the Rockies at Camelback Ranch tomorrow at 2:05 CST, and Drew Anderson is the White Sox’s probable starter. March 5 is a pretty good day in White Sox history, as that is Paul Konerko’s birthday. It could be an even better day in the future, as that is also Nick Madrigal’s birthday. Hopefully, he will be able to celebrate with another victory.