White Sox

After blowing four-run lead, White Sox top Oakland in 14 innings


After blowing four-run lead, White Sox top Oakland in 14 innings

The White Sox managed to win Monday night despite an ugly ninth inning that immediately is up for worst frame of 2015.

Trayce Thompson exited with a left elbow sprain and Tyler Flowers and David Robertson combined to blow a four-run lead in ugly fashion all in a span of three outs.

But Melky Cabrera helped the White Sox top the Oakland A’s 8-7 in 14 innings with a walkoff RBI single at U.S. Cellular Field. Thompson -- who is day to day after an X-ray was negative -- and Jose Abreu both homered in the victory as the White Sox improved to 13-3 in extra innings.

“The 14th is always our best inning,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Bullpen-wise, they did great. They were able to keep it going until we finally scored. But you’re more than disappointed with how the ninth went.”

Cabrera’s two-out single to right off Arnold Leon ended the contest after 5 hours, 9 minutes. Geovany Soto, the third White Sox catcher of the night, singled to start the 14th and moved into scoring position on Adam Eaton’s sac bunt. Soto just slid ahead of Josh Reddick’s throw home to scoring the winning run.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re winning by four or five or whatever, you have to keep your focus the whole game,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “That ninth inning was crazy. I don’t know how to explain it or what happened there, but it was crazy.”

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The White Sox took a comfortable four-run cushion headed to the ninth inning. But Thompson injured himself in a diving attempt for Brett Lawrie’s leadoff double, landing hard on his left elbow.

Danny Valencia reached on a wild pitch after he struck out. After Robertson struck out Billy Butler, he appeared to get out of the jam with a double play ball off the bat of Reddick only to have catcher’s interference called against Flowers. Robertson walked Coco Crisp to force in a run and Sam Fuld’s two-out, two-run single made it a 7-6 game. Robertson then crossed up Flowers, which led to a passed ball that allowed the tying run to score. But Robertson stranded the tying run at third as Marcus Semien lined out to center.

“Just a bizarre ninth inning,” Ventura said. “The ball falls in, you get the catcher’s interference, just the cross-up, just a bizarre ninth inning.”

The rally wiped out a victory for John Danks and what had been a stellar night by the White Sox offense against Oakland ace Sonny Gray, who matched a career-high with seven earned runs allowed.

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Danks limited Oakland to three hits -- all solo home runs -- in seven innings as he took advantage of a big night against Gray, who entered the game with a 2.28 earned-run average.

Abreu had gone hitless in 13 straight at-bats, including a first-inning strikeout, before blasted a two-run homer to left center in the third off Gray to put the White Sox ahead 2-1.

Three batters later, Thompson hammered a 0-1 curveball from Gray out to center to give the White Sox a three-run lead. The White Sox scored three more times in the fourth on an Alexei Ramirez bases-loaded walk and Abreu followed with a two-run single to put the White Sox ahead 7-2. Abreu reached base five times in eight plate appearances, including two intentional walks.

“I didn't see a game lasting until midnight coming, but I'm glad we got the win,” Danks said.

Rick Renteria voices frustration with Reynaldo Lopez during start in Detroit

Rick Renteria voices frustration with Reynaldo Lopez during start in Detroit

Reynaldo Lopez’s outing Sunday in Detroit didn’t get off to a good start and his performance led to a couple lengthy lectures from his manager.

After giving up a two-run home run in the first inning, Lopez allowed a leadoff single to Dawel Lugo in the second. White Sox manager Rick Renteria paid Lopez an early mound visit.

This wasn’t pitching coach Don Cooper going to the mound to talk to Lopez about mechanics or strategy on the next batter. Renteria walked up, looked Lopez straight in the eye and talked at him for 15 seconds without Lopez getting in a word. At one point in the interaction, Renteria appears to say "It's time to wake up."

MLB.com’s Scott Merkin asked Renteria about the mound visit after the game. If it wasn’t clearly apparent by watching the interaction, Renteria wasn’t pleased with Lopez.

Lopez threw over to first a couple times before getting behind 2-0 to the next batter, Grayson Greiner. Greiner grounded into a double play, but former White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham homered off Lopez right after that.

Lopez gave up another run in the third and Renteria again felt the need to lecture Lopez. This time it took place in the dugout.

With Lopez sitting in the dugout, a somewhat animated Renteria pointed to the 25-year-old’s chest multiple times. Lopez simply took it in and nodded. Watch this interaction and the mound visit in the video above.

Lopez came out for the fourth inning and gave up his fifth run. He was pulled before the start of the fifth. He gave up five runs on nine hits (three home runs) in four innings in a 6-3 White Sox loss.

Lopez has a 5.57 ERA on the season, which is a big drop off from his promising 3.91 ERA in 2018. Lopez was far from a finished product last year, but showed the potential to be a long-term piece in the White Sox rotation. Now? Not so much.

If Renteria’s words about making sure Lopez “was aware that he was actually pitching today” weren’t stern enough, he continued with a more general comment about the future of the White Sox.

If that wasn’t specifically directed to Lopez, it certainly applies to him. Lucas Giolito has established himself as a lock for the 2020 rotation. Dylan Cease will be given a chance to continue to improve. Michael Kopech is coming back from injury. The White Sox likely add a starting arm either via trade or free agency this offseason.

Lopez may not be a part of the future rotation and time to show he deserves a spot is running out.

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Eloy Jimenez reaches 30-home run mark in rookie season

Eloy Jimenez reaches 30-home run mark in rookie season

It took a couple months for Eloy Jimenez to get going in his rookie season, but the prized White Sox outfielder is meeting most reasonable expectations for his first year in the majors.

Jimenez smacked his 30th home run of the season Sunday in Detroit, which represents a notable round number milestone. Jimenez now has eight home runs in September and it’s only the 22nd of the month.

Jimenez launched a 2-0 slider to left center in his first at-bat to give the White Sox an early lead in Detroit.

A 30-home run season is a long way from the player Jimenez looked like in April and May. Entering June 1, the 22-year-old was hitting .220/.273/.390. He was struggling to lay off sliders out of the zone and looked a bit lost at the plate.

In June, Jimenez looked like the talented hitter the White Sox believed he was capable of becoming. He hit .284/.340/.602 with eight home runs, including a memorable go-ahead home run in Wrigley against the Cubs.

An injury playing the field in mid-July in Kansas City cost him a couple weeks and seemed to disrupt whatever rhythm he was building in June. This month, Jimenez is once again showing his elite potential. He won AL Player of the Week last week.

Jimenez’s overall numbers now have the look of a solid, promising, albeit still flawed rookie season. After Sunday, Jimenez is hitting .269/.318/.514. The power is there, but the batting average and walk rate are both lower than most expectations for him long-term. However, to put up an above average overall season at the plate as a rookie while dealing with two stints on the injured list is definitely a strong base to build from.

Expectations will be higher for Jimenez in 2020. Many will expect him to take a step towards becoming a middle of the order hitter for years to come. For now, it’s safe to look at Jimenez’s 30th home run as proof of a solid rookie campaign.

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