Things are clicking for the Chicago White Sox in September after a rough start to the season. Chicago won for the eighth time in 11 games since Miguel Cairo, the Sox' bench coach, took over as acting manager. Friday's game brought about an improbable comeback, the likes of which we haven’t seen in 2022. The Sox were hitless through six innings and sleepwalked through most of the game until the ninth.
Chicago Fight Sox
Eloy Jimenez set the tone in the ninth inning with a solo homer off of A’s Lefty A.J. Puk. It was his third homer in many games and it finally got the Sox on the board.
Leury Garcia pinch ran for Yasmani Grandal after the catcher walked. The switch-hitting Grandal pinch-hit for Gavin Sheets to gain a platoon advantage on the A’s lefty reliever.
AJ Pollock nearly beat out an infield single but, after a brief review, the call on the field was upheld. Garcia moved to second on the play and scored on Andrew Vaughn’s base hit. Adam Engel pinch-ran for Vaughn and advanced to second when Puk plunked Seby Zavala.
Romy Gonzalez, who was 0-3 with three strikeouts until the ninth, singled home Engel who snuck his hand in on a fading slide.
"They don't give up," White Sox acting manager Miguel Cairo said. "And they believe that we can do it. We don't give up. That's the phrase that Tony used: ‘Never give up.'"
The Former Oakland A’s
The inning was finally capped off by the recently acquired Elvis Andrus. The veteran shortstop, along with starter Johnny Cueto, has injected life and winning baseball into the 2022 White Sox. They have both been the most pivotal pickups of the season. Andrus has filled in wonderfully for shortstop Tim Anderson since the latter had surgery on Aug. 11
Andrus delivered the tie-breaking knock, a two-run double to left that plated two runs and put the Sox up for good.
"One of the good benefits of playing your old team is I know a lot of the tendencies of the pitchers, especially Puk," Andrus said. "I've been behind him a lot, and I know how he approaches hitters in different situations. So I had my plan, and I was really glad that he threw me the fastball there and I was able to put a good swing on it."
Liam Hendriks, another former Oakland player, closed it out with a big fist pump after his 32nd save. Aaron Bummer pitched a scoreless eighth inning and picked up the win.
"I think the attitude in here has been a little bit more yelling at each other, which I think is one of the things that we thrive upon," closer Liam Hendriks said.
"And it's obviously paying dividends the last few games. As you see we're having fun, we're cheering each other on, it's no dead spots in the dugout. We just kind of make fun of everybody and it kind of flows into it. Those positive vibes will completely change the course of a season."
"These are games that earlier in the year we didn't win," the fiery Australian added.
A Baseball Legend
Four-time 20-game winner and 1989 World Series MVP Dave Stewart will have his No. 34 jersey retired by the A’s in a pregame ceremony Sunday. He's expecting 200 family members and friends, and additionally former teammates and fans. White Sox' manager Tony La Russa is expected to be part of the festivities.
Luis Robert missed his third-straight game with left wrist soreness. He hit in the cage and took batting practice prior to the game. Robert has received more treatment from the medical staff but his return has still not been determined.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal was held out of the starting lineup with back tightness but could play Saturday. He had a pivotal pinch-hit walk in the ninth.
La Russa missed his 10th-straight game and is out indefinitely because of an unspecified health issue.
What’s On Tap Next?
It’s Lance Lynn day for the Chicago White Sox in Oakland on Saturday. Lynn has posted a 2.28 ERA and 67 strikeouts over his last nine starts. The A's will counter with rookie Adrian Martinez, who is trying to win his third straight start. The game will air on NBC Sports Chicago with first pitch at 3:07 PM CT.
Tune in to the Sox On Tap podcast for postgame reaction and further White Sox commentary all season.