The Royals came to town to start a 3-game weekend set at 35th and Shields Friday night, and it was one of the more bizarre games we’ve seen in a most unusual season. Sure, the Sox still hit some dingers, but they left the bases loaded twice with chances to put some daylight between them and the Royals. Fortunately, Yasmani Grandal sent the Sox into first place in the AL Central with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to win the game.
Yasmani Grandal. He went 2-for-5 on the night, but the last one was the biggest one, as he took a 2-1 fastball high and deep down the right-field line, and kept it fair to end the game. It’s only his third of the year, but may be the biggest home run yet, in a year that has featured so many for this Sox ball club. It made up for the blunder he made in the top half of the inning, allowing the Royals to tie the game at 5, when Jose Abreu’s throw from 2nd base skipped through his legs as he was looking to the dugout asking for a replay review. In the end, the Sox got the win, and didn’t need to go to extras to do it.
Eloy Jimenez. The young left-fielder went 2-for-4 with a long 2-run homer into the center field shrubbery and scored a pair of runs as well. He’s quietly hitting .322 on the season, which is a big reason why the Sox lead all of baseball in team batting average at .270 coming into Friday’s action.
Yoan Moncada. He’s recovered nicely from whatever leg ailment he had with another 2 hits on the night, with the second one driving in a run in the 7th to give the Sox the lead at 5-4. It could have been better, though, as he left 5 men on base.
Don’t leave me hangin’!: The Sox left the bases loaded twice in the game, which they no-doubt would be kicking themselves for if not for Grandal’s heroics in the 9th. In all, the Sox stranded 9 runners on base, and went a woeful 1-for-9 with RISP. All of which would have made the bullpen’s job a bit easier late in the game.
Alex Colome. More often than not, Colome makes his appearances this year more interesting than they need to be, and Friday night was no exception. It took a wild sequence of events that would take me into next week to write here, but suffice it to say, Colome should have backed up somewhere to prevent a bad throw from allowing the run to score, which is exactly what happened. Or, don’t let anyone get on base at all and get a nice, easy 1-2-3 inning to close out the game.
With this win, the Sox move into a tie for first with the idle Twins, and, after Cleveland’s thumping of the Deadbirds went final, Cleveland too. All three clubs sit at 20-12 heading into Saturday’s games.
It’s 28 games until the playoffs, we’ve got a power-packed lineup, half a staff of aces, it’s dark, and I’m wearing sunglasses.