One pitch was enough to turn around the White Sox whole Saturday slump. After 12-straight weeks of starting the weekend off wrong, Dustin McGowan stepped in, toed the rubber for the first time with two outs in the seventh inning and hung a meatball slider to Dayan Viciedo, and it was over. Buried in a 4-3 victory. Break out the champagne.
Mostly over, at least. Viciedo's three-run, second-deck job to left field vaulted the Sox into a sudden advantage at 3-2, gave the Sox their first lead and one they would not yield, and saved a mediocre but still valiant Chris Sale from ignominy, but also left plenty of work to do for the Sox bullpen, which is its own wonder.
The bullpen was handed a 4-2 advantage after an interesting sequence where Robin Ventura out-figured John Gibbons by pinch-hitting Alexei Ramirez for Conor Gillaspie against side-arming LOOGY Aaron Loup, and got an RBI single for his effort. And yet it still became a nail-biter in spite of the cushion. Ventura used three pitchers to handle the eighth, and Zach Putnam's first save of his career being the four-out variety wasn't the smoothest transition either. Putnam started the ninth by giving up a leadoff single to Anthony Gose and an RBI knock to Munenori Kawasaki before turning on the sinker again against the top of the order
Ending the streak didn't even require the Sox to play well. Chris Sale went through a top offense for seven innings with only two runs allowed, but walked five in an ugly day for his control. Two of those walks seemed to be Sale playing cautious in his matchups with Edwin Encarnacion, but he also went full count with recently recalled Darin Mastroianni, resulting in the flat changeup Mastroianni pounded out for the only Blue Jay runs. He struck out six.
The offense was even more questionable. Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman retired 20 of the first 22 he faced, and only had two hits allowed when he was pulled with two runners on with two outs in the seventh, with Viciedo stepping in for his fateful at-bat. Pulling Stroman seemed like overprotection for the rookie, and maybe it was.
Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo combined for four hits. Dunn added two walks, and well, Dayan had those three RBI.
Team Record: 38-44
Next Game: Friday at 12:07 p.m. CT at Toronto on WGN
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