The Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates finished their short two-game series on Wednesday afternoon. It was Yoan Moncada‘s second game back from his hamstring injury. After a 1-4 night on Tuesday, it seemed like Moncada was more comfortable out there. He walked to lead off the ballgame and after a Nicky Delmonico single, the Sox were in business.
Matt Davidson, who has been the Sox best hitter of late flew out to center on a 3-0 count after he was given the green light by manager Ricky Renteria.
Hector Santiago made the start for the Pale Hose after making an appearance out of the bullpen in Friday’s game against the Cubs. As a team, Sox pitching has had issues in the first frame. The team’s ERA in the first inning this season sat at .947 before Thursday’s game. Things didn’t get off to a great start for Santiago, who hit Pirates’ leadoff hitter Max Moroff. Thankfully, a flyout and double play ended the threat.
Leury Gacia, not known for his power, hit a 400ft. bomb off Jameson Taillon to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the Pirates were also able to make some noise in second. After a Corey Dickerson single and Elias Diaz walk Sean Rodriguez doubled, which made the score 2-1.
In hopes of a triple, Rodriguez slid into third base but slid off the bag. After a review, the Sox were able to avoid any more damage in the frame. From there it was the Taillon show until another unlikely candidate left the yard.
It was Yolmer Sanchez who tied the game up in the top of the fifth on a solo shot to right field. In the top of the sixth, with the bases loaded, Daniel Palka came off the bench to pinch hit for Hector Santiago, who pitched five innings giving up just two runs while recording two strikeouts.
The move by Renteria didn’t go as planned, however, as on a 3-1 count Palk grounded out to second base, which kept the game tied at two.
Jace Fry entered the game giving up nothing to opposing hitters in his five previous appearances. He impressed me at Wrigley Field over the weekend and did the same on Wednesday afternoon, even with a two-out walk. In the 20 batters, he has faced this season, Fry has allowed no hits while striking out eight over six innings pitched. The Sox may have something in him.
The same cannot be said for demoted closer Joakim Soria, who ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh after giving up a leadoff double. After falling behind one of the best pinch hitters in baseball in Josh Bell (3-3 pinch hitting this year), the Sox and Soria paid the price. Bell lined a single to left giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
Things didn’t get much better when Sanchez was unable to get his foot down on the bag on a double play attempt leaving the bases loaded. Soria was able to strikeout Gregory Polanco and David Freese to end the inning.
That was all the Pirates needed as they went on to win the game 3-2 and the season series 4-0. It was the Sox second straight loss. They will return home for a four-game series against the Texas Rangers.
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