The slumping Chicago White Sox are playing a team that didn’t give up on its season despite a terrible start
The White Sox could have easily given up on their Tuesday night game against the surging Cincinnati Reds despite falling behind 4-0 before they’d gotten an out and 7-2 following Adam Duvall’s three-run homer in the fifth inning.
And given up on the series, too, since the Reds beat them 5-3 on Monday for their 15th victory in a span of 20 games, the National League’s best record since June 10. The Reds also were 7-1 in interleague games.
Instead, the White Sox managed to tie it first at 7-all on a Leury Garcia pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth and at 8-all on Avisail Garcia’s second home run of the game and third of the series, in the ninth.
The White Sox finally broke through to win it 12-8 in the 12th on Yoan Moncada’s bases-full triple that right fielder Brandon Dixon brought back over the wall to prevent a homer but couldn’t keep in his glove, and Yolmer Sanchez’s RBI triple — both off reliever Jackson Stephens.
“The pitch was up and in but I was able to put the barrel on it and get a triple,” said Moncada, who had a three-hit night after coming in with a .191 average in his previous 44 games. “Little by little, the work I’ve been putting in day in and day out, I’ve been feeling better (at the plate).”
Well before the 12th, the White Sox began their comeback as Daniel Palka hit a two-run homer in the fourth, then teamed with Garcia to homer in the sixth. Garcia has a 13-game hitting streak, and is 14-for-30 with four homers and six RBIs in his last six games.
Now, after winning for only the second time in six contests and the sixth time in 19 games, the White Sox are in position to take the series if they can win Wednesday night at Great American Ball Park. White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey (3-3
Covey is in a major slump, going 0-2 with an elevated 12.71 ERA with 12 walks and three strikeouts over his last three starts — this after he was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his first three starts in June. His last time out, he surrendered four home runs and eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of a 11-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on Friday.
“I made a couple of mistakes they capitalized on,” Covey told reporters afterward. “For the most part I was throwing good pitches. They were just taking the borderline ones and were all over everything that was in the zone. I don’t have an explanation.”
Manager Rick Renteria did.
“I think there were probably a lot of pitches left over the center of plate,” he said.
Or exactly the kind of pitches the White Sox jumped on Tuesday while getting 15 hits in only their second extra-inning win of the season, as compared to three losses. By winning, the White Sox avoided falling to a season-worst 27 games below .500.
The Reds have put together a string of improbable victories while starting to turn their season around after being 3-15 and 8-27. But this was a game in which they couldn’t hold a succession of leads — 4-0, 7-2, 8-7 — as they played more like they did in April.
“It got away from us late, but that’s a good offensive baseball team,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “Garcia’s a bear to deal with right now and he got us. … But we had a big-enough lead that we should have put it away in nine (innings).”
The Reds wasted a pair of two-run homers in the first by NL batting leader Scooter Gennett and NL RBIs leader Eugenio Suarez, plus Duvall’s three-run shot and a timely play by Billy Hamilton in which he scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on a ground ball to shortstop against a drawn-in infield.
“(But) we’ve been playing too good of baseball to get hung up on one game,” Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani said. “I don’t think this game is going to affect us one bit.”
Romano has pitched well in three of his last four starts, with a June 24 outing against the Cubs in which he gave up five runs in five innings being the only exception. He gave up only three runs over 20 innings in the other three starts.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (sore ankle) is expected back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday for precautionary reasons.When Emmanuel Sanders returned from vacation to start the Denver Broncos‘ offseason training program, he went straight to the team store and loved what he saw.
Hanging off the racks were No. 4 Case Keenum jerseys.
For the first time since Peyton Manning’s retirement after Super Bowl 50
”I appreciate it, for sure,” Sanders said Wednesday. ”This is the first time in two or three years that I’m not standing up here talking about a quarterback debate. I remember when I got out here, I went out to the team store and I saw Case Keenum jerseys . I was like, `Thank God, I don’t have to deal with that again.’
”Case is our guy. We can go from there. We can work our butts off, try to gain chemistry and try to put up points.”
On the day he signed his contract, Keenum was named the starter by general manager John Elway, who also traded Trevor Siemian, who had beaten Paxton Lynch for the starting quarterback job each of the past two summers, to Minnesota.
After the draft last weekend, Elway reiterated two things about Lynch, whom he traded up to draft in the first round out of Memphis two years ago:
-He still believes he’ll figure things out and become a starting NFL quarterback.
-He’ll have to beat out Chad Kelly this offseason to win the backup job.
If he doesn’t, it would mark the third straight summer that Lynch has failed to beat out a seventh-rounder for a job.
Sanders, who said he’s healthy after being bothered by an ankle injury almost all of last season
”He’s a leader,” Sanders said, adding that ”98 percent” of his passes so far have been on target. ”He’s confident in himself. He’s one of those guys that when he steps into the huddle, he’s that leader.
”You don’t have to second-guess what his thought process is. We’re going to complete this ball. We’re going to keep the ball moving. I’m liking what I’m seeing from him so far.”
Sanders and Demaryius Thomas were loath last season to complain about it, but they were clearly affected by the turnstile at quarterback as the Broncos churned through Siemian, Lynch and Brock Osweiler during a 5-11 season.
”You can sit back and say we’re all professional football players and you’ve got to deal with that situation, but at the same time, obviously you can’t gain the same chemistry,” Sanders said.
”You don’t have the same mindset. You have to talk to two different quarterbacks. When you’re going into individual routes, you have to go to one guy and then go with the next guy. You don’t really gain that chemistry. You’re not maximizing the opportunity.
”Now we’re maximizing the opportunity, and hopefully it pays off.”
The Broncos also added some talent into their wide receiving depth, replacing free agent departures Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler III with draft picks Courtland Sutton of SMU and DaeSean Hamilton of Penn State.
Sanders, who also played at SMU, worked out with Sutton over the winter and was delighted when the Broncos picked him in the second round.
At 6-4 and 218 pounds, he’s built like Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
”D.T. is big,” Sanders said
At 6-1 and 205 pounds, Hamilton is closer to Sanders’ size – 5-11, 180 – but still bigger.
”I’m going to teach those guys everything that I know,” Sanders said. ”That’s my job.”
Sanders, who is 31 years old and will make $8.25 million this season, said he’s not concerned that the rookies will eventually unseat him.
”That’s going to happen sooner or later,” Sanders said. ”… All I can do is make plays every single day and show that if I become expendable here, just show some other team, hey, look, I still got it. I still got the juice.”
NOTES: The Broncos face a Thursday deadline to exercise OLB Shane Ray’s fifth-year option at more than $9 million, which seems unlikely given that he’s started 15 games in three seasons, missed most of last season with a wrist injury and watched Bradley Chubb fall to Denver with the fifth pick in the last week’s NFL draft.