White Sox

White Sox fall in 13 innings after brawl with Royals

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White Sox fall in 13 innings after brawl with Royals

Eric Hosmer’s two-out RBI double in the top of the 13th gave the Kansas City Royals a literal hard-fought win over the White Sox on Thursday night.

Hosmer’s liner into deep right field off reliever Jake Petricka allowed Jarrod Dyson to score from first base in a game marred by a massive brawl that resulted in five player ejections, including both starting pitchers. Wade Davis earned the save for the Royals, who prevailed 3-2 at U.S. Cellular Field as the White Sox finished 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Dyson entered the game in the seventh inning after Lorenzo Cain was ejected for participating in the brawl.

Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura and Edinson Volquez also were ejected as were Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija. Both Ventura and Sale each hit a batter earlier in the game.

Sale spotted the Royals a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Kendrys Morales singled in two runs. But the White Sox fought back against Ventura, who looked unhittable the first two innings. Ventura hit Jose Abreu to start the fourth inning and that led to a White Sox run as with two outs, Alexei Ramirez singled in Avisail Garcia, who reached on one of three fielder’s choices.

An inning later, the White Sox tied it when Abreu followed a two-out double by Melky Cabrera with one of his own.

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Two innings later, mounting tensions that began on Opening Day when Samardzija hit Cain after a Mike Moustakas homer, boiled over into a lengthy brawl. Ventura fielded Adam Eaton’s comebacker, took several steps off the mound, staring at the White Sox leadoff hitter the entire way before throwing to first for the out. Eaton then quickly turned to confront the pitcher and both benches and bullpens emptied.

The two teams then settled down and got into a bullpen battle.

Zach Duke, David Robertson, Zach Putnam and Dan Jennings all produced scoreless innings in relief of Sale, who allowed two earned runs and nine hits in seven innings. Kelvin Herrera and Jason Frasor each pitched a scoreless inning and Ryan Madson threw two. Franklin Morales pitched a scoreless inning as well in relief of Ventura, who struck out eight over seven.

Ventura allowed five hits and walked one.

Petricka, who made his 2015 debut on Wednesday, pitched a scoreless inning in the 12th. He retired the first batter in the 13th before Moustakas singled. Dyson reached on a fielder’s choice and drew five throws over by Petricka before Hosmer ripped a 2-2 changeup into right.

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson celebrated his birthday in style

Tim Anderson turned 24 on Saturday and celebrated the occasion with a bang.

Anderson smashed a three-run home run in the first inning against the A's. It was actually his first swing on his birthday. Anderson took the first two pitches before launching the 1-1 pitch over the right field fence.

That home run, Anderson's 13th of the year, gave the White Sox a 5-0 lead. Things took an ugly turn later in the game with Oakland winning 7-6. Dylan Covey left in the fifth with a hip injury, which manager Rick Renteria said will be evaluated tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury.

Anderson finished 2-for-4 on his birthday. He later added a single, a stolen base and a run in the sixth inning.

Anderon's power surge this year has him on pace to blow past his 17 homers from a year ago. He is four shy of last year's total and has done so in just under half as many plate appearances.

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.