The first pitch Andre Rienzo threw Tuesday night was rapped into the corner by Ben Zobrist for a leadoff double. The third pitch he threw on the night was bunted back to him by Desmond Jennings, and he responded by bobbling it, then flinging a wayward grounder in the rough vicinity Jose Abreu that plated Zobrist. The fourth pitch he threw was a bomb to the center field wall from Matt Joyce. Adam Eaton climbed the ladder and picked it off the top of the fence, but flew out of the play such that Jennings tagged up and scored from second.
Not so long ago, there was a certainty that would wash over the Sox after such a swift and brutal start. This year, not so much, if only because nothing is swift about working through the Sox lineup. On a night where everyone in the lineup reached base, the Sox reeled in and ground down the Rays for rain-soaked 7-3 victory.
The torrent of runs made a winner again out of Andre Rienzo, who settled down after a tentative first couple innings to complete six frames with only three earned. By the last innings, Rienzo was generating his own excitement; slapping his glove with every triumph and uncorking his big curve--which he tentatively hid early on--to record half of his four strikeouts in his last, emphatic inning of work.
Rays hot young starter Jake Odorizzi looked untouchable out of the gate. His perfect first inning included two embarrassing strikeouts of Adam Eaton (the bat-tossing variety) and Jose Abreu. Odorizzi looked invulnerable all the way until he hung a second-inning, two-out splitter to Alejandro De Aza that he popped into the right field seats for a game-tying two-run homer, his fourth on the year.
After a David DeJesus' RBI double to right-center briefly gave the Rays a 3-2 advantage, the Sox took it back from Odorizzi in the bottom half of the fourth. After 2014 Dayan earned a full count walk, 2014 Alexei drove him home with a powerful deep fly to the wall in dead center that nicked the wall just beyond Jennings' grasp and kicked back across the warning track while Ramirez scooted into third. Two quick outs afterward flushed out the familiar pang of disappointment that the Sox were wasting a vital scoring chance.
Instead, Marcus Semien waited out a 3-2 count and flicked a two-out RBI double into the left field corner, at that point serving as the third of what would be six two-out RBI driven in by Chicago hitting on the night. After back-to-back singles from Abreu and Adam Dunn chased Odorizzi in the fifth, Matt Joyce saved at least one more two-out RBI with a sprawling catch on a Dayan Viciedo liner to left-center to end the fifth, but was helpless when another two-out liner off the bat of Eaton skipped off the warning track and into the corner to score two more in the sixth, punishing reliever Jake McGee for his three-walk inning.
While Abreu didn't generate any more fireworks Monday night--not that he could, since it was Dog Day--he added to his league-leading RBI total by slapping an 0-2 single through the middle to score Semien in the eighth, and put the Sox at 8-for-15 as a team with two outs for the game. The offense saw 156 pitches in eight innings, made an eight-and-a-half inning game last 3:19, and were generally insufferable nuisances throughout.
Retiring from the role of nuisance was the bullpen, which contributed three shutout innings from Zach Putnam and Matt Lindstrom.
Team Record: 14-13
Next game is tomorrow night vs. theTigers at 7:10pm CT on WCIU
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