The Tampa Bay Rays came into Chicago with the best record in MLB by half a game over their hosts, the White Sox. After Wednesday afternoon’s walk-off win, they surrendered that title (for now, anyways) to the South Siders.
Monday night, the Rays got to starter Lance Lynn, who had probably his worst outing of the year. Tyler Glasnow was good for Tampa, but he left in the fourth with an injury that he is blaming on his inability to use foreign substances on the ball. Tough luck, but maybe that explains how good Glasnow has been.
The Sox did get two runs off Glasnow, but they came after Tampa had gotten out to a three run lead early. One came off a wild pitch, and the other came on a Brian Goodwin RBI single. Tampa was able to add on, and the bullpen was as good as advertised, and kept the Sox off the board and gave Tampa the win in the series opener.
Dallas Keuchel took the ball in game two for the Sox and he absolutely shut down Tampa’s offense, only allowing four hits and one walk against five strikeouts over 7 shutout innings. Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks shut the door in the 8th and 9th, and thanks to two runs scoring on a throwing error in the fourth and Adam Engel’s solo homer in the 5th, the Sox evened up the series at a game apiece.
That left Wednesday’s matinee to decide the series, and Lucas Giolito did a fine job over 6 innings, allowing three runs on four hits, and the Sox staked him to a comfortable lead, scoring seven runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings. Perhaps the highlight of the day for Giolito was when he got Ji-Man Choi swinging at a change-up. He had Choi so far out front that Choi tried to literally throw the bat at the ball, and the bat slid out of his hand and out into the infield dirt near the 2nd base position.
Unfortunately for Giolito, the bullpen wasn’t able to hold it, and the resilient Rays came back to tie the game with two in the 8th inning to force extras.
Ryan Burr came on in the top of the 10th, and kept the Rays from scoring the free runner on second placed there to start the inning, and after Jose Abreu (who homered earlier in the game) moved free runner Andrew Vaughn to third to lead off the inning, Yasmani Grandal singled off the wall in the right field corner to end the ballgame and give the Sox the best record in baseball.
The win on Wednesday improved the Sox to 43-25 on the season, a season-high 18 games above .500. They’re also 27-12 at home, also the best mark in MLB. Next up, the Sox head to Houston for a four-game set with the Trashstros, who lead the majors in runs scored. They sit 2.5 back of Oakland in the AL West as of this publishing.
It should be another interesting series before the schedule softens up a bit for the Sox ahead of the All-Star break.