Chicago White Sox’s Eloy Jiménez belts a two run homer in the top of the sixth inning at the Oakland Coliseum against the Oakland A’s on Thu Sep 8, 2022 (AP News photo)
Chicago (7-68). 14. 21. 0
Oakland (50-88). 2. 6. 0
Thursday, September 8, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
OAKLAND–The Chicago White Sox came to town minus their manager, Tony LaRussa and, at 69-68, two games behind the AL Central leading Cleveland Guardians, tied with the Minnesota Twins for second place in place in the division but trailing by 7-1/2 in the free for all battle for the third and last playoff berth in the AL Wild Card.
Health problems caused LaRussa to hand the Pale Hose managing duties on an interim basis to Miguel Cairo and LaRussa not expected to attend the ceremonies honoring David Stewart scheduled for this Sunday.
Although the one time Athletic and two time White Sox skipper will be in Arizona for medical testing, there will be a few familiar faces in the Chicago dugout tonight. One of them, Elvis Andrus, led off the game for the visitors.
Others were ex-Giant Johnny Cueto and Kevin Graveman, Liam Hendriks, and Jake Diekman from the Athletics. So now you know what happened to San Francisco’s rotation and Oakland’s bullpen.
The Chisox’ starting pitcher, right hander Dylan Cease. came with credentials that made him a strong candidate for this year’s AL Cy Young Award, 13-6, 2.13. He already has been named AL Pitcher of the Month for June and July.
Thursday night, Cease breezed through six scoreless innings on the way to his 14th win in the White Sox´ 14-2 rout of the A’s. He allowed only three hits, only one of which reached the outfield and two walks, with a wild pitch thrown into the mix. 62 of his 95 offerings counted as strikes. His already impressive ERA shrank to 2.06
The A’s starter JP Sears could some day be a Cy Young contender, probably for an Athletics team in Las Vegas. But not if he continues to pitch like he did tonight.
The rookie southpaw went 3-0, 2.05 for the Yankees before they traded him to Oakland, for whom he went 2-1,2.63 before throwing the game’s first pitch at 6:41. After he threw his second pitch, a 93 mph four seamer, the White had a 1-0 lead. Four pitches later, they were up 2-0.
Andrus had hit his third White Sox home run and 12th of the season, 444 feet into left field. Moncada had hit his eighth, this one “only” 404 feet deep, over the Sports California sign to the right of the 388 foot marker in center field. That’s what a temperature of 89 degrees can do to a hard hit ball in the Oakland Coliseum.
The combination of a double play and a magnificent running catch in left center by Cristián Pache got Sears out of the inning in spite of a single by José Abreu and a walk to AJ Pollock.
The Chisox offense was unrelenting. Romy González led off the second with a single to left. Ceby Zabala followed up with a drive off the Craftsman ad in right center that went for a double that sent González to third. After Adam Engel struck out, Andrus dropped a single into shallow center to drive in González.
Then Moncada, who had come to work with a BA of .199, whacked his second dinger of the night. This one went to straightaway left field and produced three runs. After two innings, Chicago was ahead by a half a dozen tallies, and Sears was out of the game, replaced by fellow portsider Zach Logue.
Sears had thrown 59 pitches to get six outs. In the process, he allowed six runs, all earned, on eight hits, three of which left the park, and a walk. He took the loss, leaving him with a record of 5-2, 3.33. Both of those losses came as an Athletic.
Logue held the Sox scoreless on one hit in the third and struck out two of their batters in the fourth. But that still left room for a single to right by Moncada and Jiménez’s 11th round tripper of the year, a 404 foot, two run blast to left that brought the score to 8-0.
These Sox had plenty of runs left in them. Romy González led off the fifth by clanking a double off the Eva Air advertisement in right. He now was just a triple short of the cycle. He could have strolled home on Adam Engel’s single to center, but he trotted in, increasing Chicago’s advantage to nine zip.
Andrus forced Engel at second and then scored when Moncada’s double to center brought him in to make it 10-0. The hit also put Moncada one triple short of a cycle. It was the Sox third baseman’s fifth RBI of the encounter, raising his season’s total to 45.
Run number 11 ame on Andrew Vaughn’s single with no outs and two on in the sixth. Number 12, 13, and 14 came on the round tripper González sent 410 feet into left on the next pitch. A walk to Zabala ended the night for Logue. He had managed to allow eight runs, all earned, on ten hits in three innings, and left a runner on base for newcomer Tyler Cyr.
Cyr gave up a single to Moncada but finished the frame without allowing any further damage and finished off the Chisox with only a one out two bagger by Zabala in the eighth.
Interim manager Cairo felt confident enough to let Cease cease his labors and take the rest of the night off at the end of six innings of Athletic futility. José Ruíz cast The Curse of the Leadoff Double, in this case to Machín, in a scoreless seventh.
Oakland finally ended its scoring drought in the eighth, with Vince Velásquez on the mound. Jonah Bride, who had replaced Kemp an inning earlier, led off with an infield single and motored to third on Seth Brown’s double to right.
Shea Langeliers, now the A’s catcher, sent a sacrifice fly to center that drove in Bride and allowed Brown to take third and score on a ground out to short by Sheldon Neuse, hitting for Vogt. Neuse then went out to pitch a scoreless top of the ninth. Scoreless because Pache made a great over the head catch of Jiménez’s fly to the rear of the warning track in center.
Velásquez put the Athletics down in order in the ninth.
James Karielian (3-9, 4.79) will face off tomorrow at 6:40 against Lucas Giolito (10-9,5.21) in the second of this four game series.