That was fun.
James Shields pitched a masterful ballgame, going seven and a third, allowing a mere one run. In traditional White Sox fashion, it looked like he was about to take the loss, with Luis Avilan allowing a runner home and the Sox down to their last four outs.
Then Yoan Moncada stepped up to the plate. And seven batters later, the White Sox trotted out Nate Jones to close out the game with a 4-2 lead over the Texas Rangers. He was responsible for two runners in scoring position but got Delino DeShields swinging on a vicious slider low and away to send the South Siders home happy.
Moncada began that eighth-inning rally by violently assaulting a baseball to right field. It was a screaming line drive that didn’t stop until it wedged itself under the protective padding on the Guaranteed Rate Field wall. After running all the way home, Moncada was sent back to second base with a ground rule double.
Moncada was responsible for three of the Sox eight hits in the ballgame, raising his slash line to .270/.361/.500, which through a month and a half of baseball is approaching an all-star-caliber performance in his age 23 season.
He then went to third on a Robinson Chirinos passed ball. After that, Yolmer Sanchez hit a high bouncer to the pitcher, Jose Leclerc. Leclerc stepped towards first base, prepared to retire the side and…
He threw it away.
Moncada scored. Sanchez went to second. With Chicago now down 2-1, Jose Abreu was intentionally walked, bringing Nicky Delmonico to the plate. He worked the count to 3-2 and watched the final pitch of the at-bat go for what the home plate umpire Paul Nauert called ball four.
I won’t sugarcoat it. That pitch was a strike. It had the whole plate. Leclerc should have been out of the inning right then and there. Later, Rangers manager Jeff Bannister got himself ejected, as he very well should have.
With the bases loaded now, Matt Davidson, who has surpassed his base on balls total from 2017 already, got another free pass after working a 0-2 count to a 3-2 count and watched the payoff pitch sail low and outside. His RBI tied the ballgame and set the table for Welington Castillo.
The veteran catcher drove a ball into shallow right-center field. It fell. Two runs scored. And the rest is history.
Up next, the White Sox will play the second of their four-game series against Texas tomorrow at 7:10 pm. Carson Fulmer will be on the mound for the Pale Hose, while the Rangers have yet to announce a starting pitcher. Chicago will look to build off of Thursday night’s comeback victory.
Follow Jack on Twitter: @JS_92_
Featured Photo Credit: Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune