ANAHEIM, Calif. — The White Sox lost the strangest game on Tuesday night.
There were a couple of bloopers that found holes in the bottom of the 11th to set up the winning rally. Melky Cabrera slipped on the wet grass in the outfield and couldn’t recover in time to make one catch. Don Cooper was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. And then there was Todd Frazier’s 33-hop single that scooted through the infield to drive in two runs during a furious ninth-inning rally.
But it all still added up to a difficult loss for the White Sox. Having rallied from three down to pull ahead late on a Tim Anderson home run, the White Sox couldn’t hang on. A pair of bloop hits and Albert Pujols’ game-winning single to deep center lifted the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-6 victory over the White Sox in front of 36,089 at Angel Stadium. Anderson’s homer with two outs in the 11th put the White Sox ahead but David Robertson couldn’t hold the lead. The White Sox have lost eight of 10 and dropped to 17-20 overall.
“Baseball is a crazy game,” Robertson said. “We had the pop fly to left with (Cameron) Maybin and I thought ‘How often does your left fielder fall down and trip, loose his footing?’ Things happened. It’s a crazy game. I mean, I’m smiling about it now, but I’m furious that we lost. But looking back on it, a lot of weird things went on. We definitely had a chance to get out of it, just couldn’t make it happen.”
Anderson had a triumphant return to the White Sox lineup. Playing for the first time since he attended the funeral of his best friend this weekend, Anderson’s 11th-inning solo home run off Yusmeiro Petit put the White Sox in line for a stunning victory that included a three-run rally in the ninth.
But the Angels wouldn’t give in — even after the tying run had been cut down at third in the 11th. With Andrelton Simmons on second courtesy of a single and a passed ball, Robertson opted to throw to third on Danny Espinosa’s bunt and Tyler Saladino applied an athletic tag for the first out.
But Ben Revere’s pinch-hit bloop single set up Maybin’s game-tying, bloop double to left field. Cabrera initially broke back on a ball that normally results in a hit 11 percent of the time, according to Baseball Savant, and slipped on his way back in. Anderson still nearly tracked the ball down but couldn’t haul it in.
“I just slipped,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “This little square, kind of a different grass. I just slipped there.”
“If I don’t slip, I catch the ball.”
Robertson walked Mike Trout intentionally to load the bases for Pujols, who ripped a deep drive to center. Leury Garcia couldn’t handle the ball (it would have gone for a game-winning sac fly no matter) and the White Sox lost in equally stunning fashion.
“We battled,” said starting pitcher Derek Holland, who allowed three earned runs in six innings. “We can’t sit and beat ourselves up. We came back and tied it up. We took the lead. It’s one of those nights that got away from us. I know we’re capable of getting that, but unfortunately things didn’t go our way, and we have to move on and get ready for the next one.
“It was a crazy game.”
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Stymied for seven innings by J.C. Ramirez, the White Sox scored three times off David Hernandez in the ninth to send it to extras. Before their rally, the only White Sox offense came via a two-run Yolmer Sanchez homer in the sixth that got them within a run.
Cabrera and Jose Abreu singled off Hernandez to start the ninth-inning rally. Avisail Garcia nearly homered, but settled for an RBI double. Then came Frazier’s must-be-seen-to-be-believed game-tying hit, a multi-hopper to the right side that somehow avoided the glove of first baseman Luis Valbuena and scooted through the infield for a two-run single — a play that ended with a fantastic slide by Avisail Garcia at the plate. The White Sox brought the winning run to third base but couldn’t forge ahead as pinch-runner Willy Garcia was easily thrown out at home on Saladino’s safety squeeze attempt. Garcia previously moved to third on Anderson’s sacrifice bunt.
Prior to that the White Sox were kind of a mess. Holland danced in and out of trouble several times. The White Sox bullpen then combined for three straight walk in a two-run Angels seventh. Cooper was so displeased with the strike zone he was ejected.
“(The ninth inning) was a little quirky,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Everything that ended up developing in that whole inning, I look at the guys we have on our club, they showed a little tenacity. Good things happen when you continue to fight and battle and don’t give up and I thought we obviously put ourselves in a position to possibly win a ballgame and we fell a little short.”