Crooked numbers don’t get more crooked than an eight spot.
The White Sox looked doomed after the visiting San Diego Padres took a 3-1 lead with a seventh-inning homer, but the South Siders came through in the late innings for the second straight game, scoring eight times in the eighth inning to come back for a 9-3 win on Mother’s Day at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Eight-run eighth, that doesn’t happen too often in the game of baseball,” Todd Frazier said after the game. “Guys battling. A walk here, a couple knocks here, and away we go. Everybody just battling their butt off, taking really good at-bats and waiting for their pitch. It was a lot of fun.”
After more than a week where fun was in short supply, the White Sox now have back-to-back wins in very fun fashion after slogging through a six-game losing streak.
Jose Quintana was excellent through six innings but coughed up a narrow 1-0 lead by surrendering a three-run home run to Hunter Renfroe in the seventh. Considering the White Sox ordinarily have difficulty scoring in games Quintana pitches, that looked like it might have been all she wrote.
But then came that eighth inning. After back-to-back one-out walks, Avisail Garcia reached on an error by the shortstop to load the bases and Frazier walked to force in a run that made it a one-run ballgame. After a pitching change, Melky Cabrera came through with a pinch-hit single that scored the game-tying and go-ahead runs.
That was all the clutch the White Sox really needed, but they were nowhere near done scoring off the Padres’ bullpen in the eighth, something they couldn’t do against starter Jered Weaver, who allowed one run in the first before five scoreless frames.
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Tyler Saladino followed Cabrera’s big hit by popping up a bunt that was caught by first baseman Wil Myers. But Frazier took advantage of Myers turning his back to home plate and scampered home for the fourth run of the inning.
“I’m just curious if it’s a sac fly or not. Me and Sally were trying to talk, hopefully it is,” Frazier said. “Just one of those things. You just read what’s going on, and you take a chance. I thought it was a good chance to take there. We scored, we were up two runs already with our closer coming in. I wasn’t thinking that all in my head, but I was thinking, ‘Back’s turned, take a shot,’ and he actually flipped the ball up high enough, too, where I could take three or four more steps. It worked out perfect.”
Two batters later, Willy Garcia’s single made it 6-3. After that, Leury Garcia doubled to make it 8-3. Yolmer Sanchez drove in a final tally with a base hit.
When the dust all settled on that eighth inning, the White Sox tagged four different Padres relievers for eight runs, four hits, five walks, an error and a hit batsman.
Quintana looked due for another loss, which would have been his sixth of the young season. Instead, he got no decision for the first time in 2017. As usual, the White Sox didn’t score much while he was in the game, but at least this time they made up for it with the monster eighth.
“I think they were responding,” manager Rick Renteria said. “They wanted to not allow that to be kind of the end of it. They kept battling even after that happened (the seventh-inning home run). They were still talking on the bench and getting ready to continue to battle. And then it opened up in that one particular inning and they just took advantage of it.”
Quintana finished allowing three runs on five hits and four walks in seven innings of work.
Sunday’s huge eighth inning combined with Saturday’s walk-off winner in the ninth means the White Sox now have a winning streak after that long losing streak. En route to Southern California for the start of a three-city road trip through Anaheim, Seattle and Phoenix, the White Sox have a bit of momentum on their side.
“Great momentum,” Frazier said. “We’ll take a win any way. So if we would’ve won by one run, it wouldn’t have mattered. Momentum’s right where we need it to be. Going on the long road trip, it helps us out on the flight. We get to listen to some music and enjoy a good flight.”