White Sox

White Sox survive three rain delays to blow past Cardinals

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White Sox survive three rain delays to blow past Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — The White Sox came to Missouri with the worst road record in the American League for a short series against baseball’s best team. On paper, things didn’t appear to bode well for the White Sox. But baseball can be a weird game.

After surviving three rain delays totaling 2:19, the White Sox beat St. Louis, 7-1, Wednesday at Busch Stadium to sweep a two-game series from a Cardinals team that entered the week with only seven losses in St. Louis this season. Tyler Flowers homered for the third consecutive game and Melky Cabrera blasted his third home run of the season to pace the White Sox offense.

Jose Quintana pitched well despite warming up prior to the first delay, which lasted 1:49, and dealing with the other 14- and 16-minute delays, both of which started with the White Sox in the field. The left-hander allowed one run on six hits in six innings with eight strikeouts, lowering his season ERA to 3.81 and out-dueling Cardinals starter John Lackey in the process.

“He did a good job with staying loose,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He didn’t really let it effect him. He does a good job of that.

“It didn’t happen to Lackey. It happened to Q. He was able to withstand that mentally.”

[RELATED: Flowers helping push Sale to success]

St. Louis struck in the first inning after the game’s second delay, with Kolten Wong narrowly beating Alexei Ramirez’s relay throw home on Jhonny Peralta’s double. Adam Eaton’s fifth-inning single was the equalizer and Melky Cabrera’s sixth-inning solo home run, his third of the year, put the White Sox ahead for good.

Flowers’ two-run home run added some insurance in the ninth, but the scoring didn’t stop there. Carlos Sanchez singled Adam LaRoche and Adam Eaton were hit by pitches in consecutive at-bats to load the bases for Jose Abreu, who drove in Sanchez with a single to left. LaRoche scored on Cabrera’s groundout, and Matt Carpenter’s error trying to catch Yadier Molina’s rundown throw allowed Eaton to score for the seventh and final run.

Zach Putnam, Zach Duke and Jake Petricka combined to throw two scoreless, high-leverage innings before turning things over to Scott Carroll to polish off the win with a six-run cushion in the ninth.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The first-place Cardinals — baseball’s only team with 50 or more wins — entered this week’s short series with a 29-7 record at Busch Stadium, and only lost two consecutive home games one other time this season (May 15-16 vs. Detroit). The White Sox, conversely, entered the week with an AL-worst 14-27 road record.

“They are obviously a good team and missing some key pieces but you know it’s nice to come in here and beat a team like this,” Ventura said. “I think offensively we put some runs up late and the pitchers did what they did and the bullpen did too. There are some guys that are starting to swing it.”

In stellar return from injured list, only Yoan Moncada's pride hurt in embarrassing tumble

In stellar return from injured list, only Yoan Moncada's pride hurt in embarrassing tumble

On the day he returned from a weeks-long stay on the injured list with a hamstring strain, the sight of Yoan Moncada face-planting coming out of the batter's box was enough to make an entire fan base hold its breath.

Fans weren't alone, either. Asked if his heart skipped a beat when Moncada hit the ground in the seventh-inning, manager Rick Renteria went a step further.

"Two beats," he laughed.

Moncada was fine, it turned out, hurting nothing but his pride on that embarrassing tumble. The longest lasting effect will be the continued ribbing from his teammates. Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez wouldn't let him hear the end of it before, during or after the third baseman's postgame meeting with the media.

"They've been all over me about that," Moncada said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "They say I have weak legs and I need to more work in the gym.

"Everything's good. I have a scratch on my knee, but it's OK."

Other than that on-field folly, Moncada was stellar in his first game back from the IL. He blasted a homer into The Goose Island in his second trip to the plate, a two-run shot that kind of busted things open in what was a dominant 6-1 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers. He added a double in his third at-bat.

Moncada's 2019 slash line is up to .303/.359/.545 after picking up those two extra-base knocks Thursday night, continuing a breakout season that's seen him go from 217 strikeouts in 2018 to the White Sox best hitter a year later.

The 2019 season is about the development of the young, core guys much more than it is about the win-loss record at the end of the year. Moncada is one of those young, core guys, and his big season has been one of the things that has fans and onlookers thinking about 2020 as the year that could see the White Sox move from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Moncada and the rest of these young White Sox have a handful of weeks remaining in the 2019 to create some momentum for 2020. While offseason additions, the return of a healthy Michael Kopech and the eventual arrivals of top-ranked prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal will have plenty to do with changing the landscape over the coming months, Moncada and Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez and James McCann and Jose Abreu and Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease can move the ball closer to the goal, to borrow a sports metaphor from a different sport, with their efforts over the next month and change.

For Moncada, the easiest way to do that is to simply stay on the field.

"I think our goal right now is just to stay healthy and play as free as we can," he said before Thursday's game. "Just try to do the things we know we can do and just take advantage of being healthy and being on the field.

"I think we're going to have a strong finish to the season and hopefully we're going to carry that to next season."

Fans know that importance, too, still waiting for the young trio of Moncada, Anderson and Jimenez to all play together in a full game for the first time since late June. That was supposed to happen Thursday, before Jimenez was scratched from the lineup with some mild hip soreness that neither general manager Rick Hahn nor Renteria seemed too concerned about.

But that heightened alertness for the health of these young, core players caused that brief second of panic when Moncada hit the dirt Thursday night.

Thankfully for the White Sox, Dr. Renteria got to the bottom of things rather quickly.

"It looked awkward, but you could tell he stumbled out of the box," Renteria said. "He was staying down there for a little bit. That’s when I started getting concerned.

"But when I go out there, he gets up right away. I said, 'You are little embarrassed right now, aren’t you?' He said, ‘No, it’s my knee.’

"I said, ‘You are embarrassed.' And he started smiling. That’s all it was. He was fine."

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Behind the scenes with Lucas Giolito

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Behind the scenes with Lucas Giolito

Fresh off his complete game shutout against the Twins, Lucas Giolito goes in-depth with Chuck Garfien about his impressive victory and all that went on behind the scenes.

-What it was like striking out White Sox killer Nelson Cruz to end the game (7:30)

-How he beat a Twins team that's trying to hit a home run almost every time they come to the plate (10:00)

-What it will mean to get 200 strikeouts this season (11:10)

-What's different about the baseball (14:40)

-How he's helped Evan Marshall get in touch with actor Jason Segel (16:10)

-Making it a priority to beat the Twins to win a series against them (17:40)

-What he's doing mentally before each game that's different this year (18:30) and more.

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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