The 2014 White Sox came into the season knowing they needed contributions from rookies up and down the roster, and knowing their rotation depth was shallow and would get thoroughly explored throughout the season. Even with that, 29-year-old Scott Carroll making his major league debut at the end of April registers a surprise.
The 'Coop'll fix 'em' doctrine has taken a beating during the opening month, especially with top pitching prospect Erik Johnson getting optioned after a very shaky five starts Sunday morning, but it looked stronger than ever as Carroll glided through 7.1 innings with only a single earned run and out-dueled David Price and the Rays in a 9-2 Sunday laugher.
Carroll's success was all him. He induced 12 groundball outs over the day--15 if you give him double credit for double plays--none of the six hits he allowed went for extra bases. The only run on his tab scored after Daniel Webb took over in the eighth with one out and a runner on first. Carroll was also briefly put in a 1-0 hole in the fifth when Dayan Viciedo dropped an easy pop-up in the fifth from Yunel Escobar, allowing David DeJesus to score. For a second, it looked like an awful way to lose.
But Carroll had help overcoming Price. Despite the Viciedo gaffe, he did not have his defense commit four errors in one inning like the Rays did to Price, and he did not have to face Jose Abreu.
After a Ben Zobrist bobble put Gordon Beckham on first to lead off the sixth, both Beckham and Adam Eaton came around when Price threw a Marcus Semien bunt into right field, and Wil Myers fumbled around getting the ball back in. Eaton seemingly crossed the plate when the Rays failed to realize he had never stopped running. Abreu quickly turned the flimsy one-run lead trusted to a spot starter into a chasm by annihilating a hanging slider to left for a two-run blast. Viciedo followed Abreu gamely by ripping a double down the left field corner, and scored when Escobar threw an Alexei Ramirez grounder in the hole to LaPorte for a two-base error.
Price was still up for more misery after that inning, and the Sox delivered it. Beckham led off the seventh with a walk, stole second on a wayward Jose Molina throw, moved to third on a bloop single from Eaton, and scored when Marcus Semien drilled a double into left-center and chased Price before Abreu strode to the plate again
Working in relief, known rapist Josh Lueke did a better job working the ball inside to Abreu than his predecessor, but suffered two runs all the same as the big man punched a single to center, giving him a rookie record 31 RBI for the month, including 10 in this series alone.
With that, the tense 1-0 affair that the Rays and Sox were involved in going into the bottom of the sixth was a lazy blowout, typified by the ill-fated hit-and-run that ended it. David DeJesus was going with the pitch with one out in the ninth when Brandon Guyer lined out to Alexei Ramirez. His fate sealed, DeJesus stood smiling at second as Alexei walked over with the tag.
Whatever man, it's Sunday.
Team Record: 13-13
Next game is tomorrow vs. Tampa at 7:10pm CT on Comcast SportsNet
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