The Chicago White Sox dropped the second game in the American League Wild Card Series against the Oakland Athletics by a score of 5-3 on Wednesday afternoon.
Dallas Keuchel and Chris Bassitt got the ball for their respective clubs and it was Bassitt’s day to dominate for his team. Keuchel got roughed up early, but the Sox pushed back late against a strong Oakland bullpen.
Keuchel found himself in a jam in the bottom of the first. With two on and two out, Chad Pinder grounded a ball up the middle that Tim Anderson tried to make a spinning throw on, but it pulled Jose Abreu off the bag to load the bases. Matt Olson then grounded a ball to Nick Madrigal that kicked up a bit on him and ricocheted off of his glove. Two runners scored, giving the Athletics an early 2-0 advantage.
Oakland added another pair of runs in the second inning. After Sean Murphy singled, Marcus Semien homered to center to double the lead to 4-0.
Another Oakland home run came in the bottom of the fourth. Khris Davis smacked a solo shot off of Keuchel to extend the lead to 5-0.
Fast forward to the eighth when the White Sox finally put their first runs on the board. With Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks on the bump and a runner on, Yasmani Grandal clobbered his second home run of the series to make it a three-run game, 5-2.
After Codi Heuer threw a perfect eighth inning for the Sox, their bats got after Hendriks again in the ninth. The Australian-born right-hander retired the first two hitters before allowing back-to-back singles to Madrigal and Tim Anderson. With runners on the corners, Yoan Moncada then walked to load the bases, which forced Oakland manager Bob Melvin to go to the bullpen for the lefty Jake Diekman. Grandal showed patience and drew a walk of his own to force home a run, making the score 5-3. Jose Abreu scolded a ball to second that was handled on a hop for the final out of the game. 5-3 was the final score from The Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.
The good news for the Sox is that they were able to get to the Oakland bullpen. Although they were down early, the offense was able to claw back and make some noise at the end. Personally, I would say that the momentum is still on the White Sox side.
A do-or-die game three will take place tomorrow at 2:10 PM CT, airing once again on ESPN. With Dylan Cease throwing an inning out of the bullpen today, it seems as though Dane Dunning is the most likely candidate to start game three for the White Sox. As for Oakland, their starter remains to be determined, but be sure to follow Sox On Tap on Twitter for any updates. You can also tune in to the Sox On Tap for further commentary and analysis on all things White Sox.