White Sox drop extra-innings thriller to Red Sox

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Boston Red Sox's Travis Shaw, right, watches his 3-run home run in the third inning as Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal, center, looks on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

    Boston Red Sox's Travis Shaw, right, watches his 3-run home run in the third inning as Chicago White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal, center, looks on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Associated Press

 
By Matt Baron
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 9/11/2021 10:59 PM

The White Sox dropped a 9-8 extra-inning thriller to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, squandering the hot bats of Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal and a dominant midgame performance by relief pitcher Michael Kopech.

After overcoming a 5-run deficit to take an 8-7 lead in the 5th inning, the White Sox couldn't hold on. An Enrique Hernandez sacrifice fly in the 8th off Craig Kimbrel -- who just wild-pitched the runner to third -- knotted the score at 8. Boston pushed the go-ahead run across in the 10th on a Travis Shaw single.

 

In the bottom of the 10th, the White Sox had runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out after Grandal led off with a single. But Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick both struck out and Brian Goodwin grounded out to end the 4-hour, 12-minute contest in front of a sellout crowd of 37,854 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

"We had a couple of chances to add (runs earlier), we couldn't do it," said White Sox manager Tony La Russa. "You work that hard, you want to get a win."

Robert led Chicago with 4 hits, including 3 doubles, while Grandal finished with 3 hits and 3 runs.

Grandal's solo home run in the 5th inning put Chicago ahead, 8-7. An inning earlier, he had drawn a walk after missing a homer down the left field line by inches. His good eye contributed to a 5-run rally that erased a 7-2 Boston lead.

Robert's 2-out, 3-run double, which brought the White Sox to within 7-6, was the rally's biggest blow. It came on the heels of Cesar Hernandez nearly clearing those bases with a looper that fell inches foul down the right field line. One pitch later, Hernandez struck out looking.

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The loss dropped the White Sox to 81-61 and kept the club's lead in the AL Central Division over the Cleveland Indians at 11 games. The Red Sox are now 81-63, 1 game ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays for the first of two Wild Card spots.

All 5 runs in the 4th inning were unearned, after Boston third baseman Rafael Devers muffed a potential double play grounder that could have ended the inning for pitcher Garrett Richards. Sandwiched around Robert's double was a Goodwin walk that brought in a run and a Yoan Moncada double that plated Robert to knot the score.

Kopech fanned 5 batters in 2⅓ scoreless innings. He allowed only one baserunner, via a walk, and mixed his pitches effectively to confound Boston batters.

By contrast, White Sox starter Dylan Cease struggled. In the 3rd, he walked 3 batters and gave up 4 hits, the last a 3-run Travis Shaw home run that ended Cease's night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 7 runs allowed by Cease were a season-high, as were the 5 walks. Securing 8 outs on throwing 71 pitches were both season lows. On a bright note, his 5 strikeouts give him 202 on the season, sixth-most in the Majors.

He credited White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz with helping him develop to reach that milestone, though "it's hard to be happy when you have a game like that."

"Cease has been outstanding," said La Russa, "so we picked him up."

Before Shaw's 3-run blow, Devers opened Boston's scoring with a bases-loaded walk -- the third straight walk issued by Cease. Alex Verdugo's 2-run single and Bobby Dalbec's RBI single made it 4-2, Red Sox.

Making his Major League debut after Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale went on the COVID Injured List Friday, Connor Seabold pitched only 3 innings, but minimized damage to a 2-run homer by shortstop Leury Garcia in the 2nd inning. After a Grandal single, Garcia nailed a down-and-in breaking ball a dozen rows beyond the visitors' bullpen, an estimated 427 feet from home plate.

The following inning, after the first of Robert's doubles and a Moncada walk, the crowd sensed a rally against the newcomer. But on his 43rd and final pitch, Seabold induced Major League RBI leader Jose Abreu's second double-play grounder in as many at bats.

Before the game, Boston manager Alex Cora said the goal was for Seabold "to give us as many outs as possible ... obviously it's a tough lineup to have your big-league debut."

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