At last. The Chicago White Sox are back to .500. Tony La Russa’s ballclub gutted out an extra-inning victory on Tuesday night, capped off by a Josh Harrison walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning. The four-hour-plus rollercoaster affair was anything but easy for the Sox, though Dylan Cease made it look that way in his 14th start of the year.
Cease was marvelous, as he carved up the Blue Jays’ strong lineup with 11 strikeouts over six shutout innings. He only permitted one infield single and two walks, and he also tied his career high in strikeouts with the 11 punch-outs, a number he has reached in seven starts. In a rollercoaster of a ballgame, the 13 runs in the box score don’t accurately reflect the superb pitching matchup between Cease and Kevin Gausman, with Cease getting the edge tonight. He lowered his season ERA to 2.68 in the sparkling effort, as his confidence and importance to this White Sox team both continue to grow.
Chicago got off to a 2-0 lead after five innings, on the backs of Adam Engel and Luis Robert RBI doubles. However, the Blue Jays went on to score four unanswered, highlighted by a three-run eighth inning. Not to worry though, as the Sox capitalized on an erratic Jordan Romano, a typically reliable closer. He had converted 17 of 19 save opportunities entering the night, but that went by the wayside after a Luis Robert two-RBI single tied the game at four in the bottom of the ninth. A back-and-forth extra inning struggle finally came to an end with Josh Harrison’s clutch, two-strike single to center field.
The Sox tallied 15 hits in tonight’s triumph, highlighted by multi-hit efforts from Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Jose Abreu, Adam Engel, Josh Harrison, and Danny Mendick. The dynamic, five-tool star Luis Robert extended his hitting streak to 12 games, posting his fourth straight multi-hit game in the process. Look out folks, “La Pantera” is heating up with the weather.
With the victory, the White Sox move to 33-33 and are now a mere 3.5 games behind the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division.
W: Vince Velasquez (3-3, 4.46 ERA) | L: Matt Gage (0-1, 1.17 ERA)
White Sox Scoring Recap:
Bottom of the 2nd: Adam Engel doubles. AJ Pollock scores. CWS 1- TOR 0.
Bottom of the 5th: Luis Robert doubles to deep left field. Danny Mendick scores. CWS 2- TOR 0.
Bottom of the 9th: Luis Robert singles to right center field. Adam Haseley scores. Tim Anderson scores. CWS 4- TOR 4.
Bottom of the 10th: Danny Mendick singles to left field. AJ Pollock scores. CWS 5- TOR 5.
Bottom of the 11th: Luis Robert out on a sacrifice fly to right field to Raimel Tapia. Tim Anderson scores. CWS 6- TOR 6.
Bottom of the 12th: Josh Harrison singles to shallow center field. José Abreu scores. CWS 7- TOR 6.
Dylan Cease: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 ER, 11 K, 101 pitches (62 strikes)
Cease had simply nasty stuff tonight, scattering two hits and a walk over six dominant innings. He struck out an eye-popping 11 without allowing any runs to cross the plate. Per Baseball Savant’s Statcast metrics, 12 of Dylan’s fastballs touched 98 miles-per-hour and 13 of his breaking balls had over 50 inches of vertical break. You’ll see some of his razor-sharp sliders below:
Adam Engel: 3-for-4, 2 BB, 2B, RBI (10), 2 SB (9)
Adam made the most of his second consecutive start, doubling down the right field line in the second inning to score AJ Pollock and singling to center field in the sixth inning. After he singled in the sixth, he stole second, which was upheld after Toronto challenged the call. On the next pitch, he craftily swiped third on the unassuming Kevin Gausman. It was nice to see Adam make the most of his opportunity tonight.
Luis Robert: 2-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI (35)
Luis extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his missile down the third baseline in the bottom of the fifth inning that resulted in an RBI double. He also went on to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th with a 2-RBI single, and then tie it again in the bottom of the 11th with a sacrifice fly to right field. He’s posted an RBI for the fourth straight game, tallying 11 RBI over that four-game span.
Josh Harrison: 2-for-5, BB, walk-off RBI single
Josh has been a bright spot for the South Siders in this Blue Jays series. He’s made a couple of stout defensive plays while also contributing with the bat, including his first home run of the season last night and the walk-off single tonight. After struggling for much of the year, he’s boosted his average to .216 in the winning effort.
Lucas Giolito will take the bump as the White Sox aim to sweep the series on Wednesday afternoon. He is slated to go up against Blue Jays’ righty Ross Stripling.
The game can be viewed at 1:10 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago.
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Featured Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports