As a tagline, it may not be as memorable as “Good guys wear black.”
But Lucas Giolito’s one-sentence review of the White Sox’ 2-1, 10-inning win over the Tigers on Saturday sums up the season pretty well.
“That’s AL Central baseball,” Giolito said after the Sox walked off the Tigers when a 96 mph fastball from Detroit’s Jose Cisnero caromed off the facemask of plate umpire Cory Blaser. The ball bounced toward the Tigers dugout, allowing Yoan Moncada to score.
“It was a bam-bam play,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I just reacted and was able to score. ... First time that happened to me. It was a very weird thing.”
Afterward, Sox players and manager Pedro Grifol expressed concern for Blaser, who was “under observation following the final play,” according to MLB.
“Hopefully Cory is all good and he’s ... able to recover and we’ll see him at third base [Sunday],” reliever Liam Hendriks said.
That added a somber note to an odd day when the Sox (25-35) clinched a series win in a division where only the first-place Twins are above .500,
Pitching led the way again. A day after Mike Clevinger and four relievers shut out Detroit on six hits, Dylan Cease pitched one-run ball over 5 1/3 innings and the bullpen blanked the Tigers on one hit over the final 4 2/3 innings.
Grifol noted Sox pitchers’ success in throwing first-pitch strikes.
“When we’re running up there guys [throwing] 96-99 [mph], guy after guy and they’re getting ahead 26 out of 36 times, that’s a tough day at the ballpark [for opponents],” Grifol said. “That’s a pretty good recipe for success.”
One to remember
Hendriks threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning in his second appearance since returning following treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
He slipped a 95 mph fastball past Zack Short for a called third strike to end the inning, and retrieved the baseball for a souvenir. It was the first strikeout of his comeback.
“Just little mementoes you can keep,” said Hendriks, who considers himself a work in progress.
“It was clean,” he said of the 17-pitch outing. “Deeper counts than I would have liked. ... Clean is clean and scoreless is scoreless and that’s all I can hope for right now.”
Step in right direction
Cease, who lowered his ERA from 4.88 to 4.63, needed 99 pitches to get through 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.
“It was pretty good,” he said. “Would like to go deeper in the game, be more efficient. But I thought it was better than a lot of my previous starts.”
Cease’s top three pitches by usage were the slider, four-seam fastball and knuckle-curve, in that order. But his fourth pitch was key as well on Saturday.
“Definitely the best feel I’ve had with the changeup,” Cease said. “Always great to throw in an extra look and make them have to respect something else as well. I’d like to continue to do that.”
“His pitch count ran up there a little bit,” Grifol said. “He made some good pitches when he needed to. ... His slider was good, his changeup was really good.”
This and that
Relievers Keynan Middleton and Kendall Graveman each are unscored upon in their last 13 appearances. Middleton’s ERA is down to 1.33, while Graveman’s has fallen to 2.55.
• Eloy Jimenez was 0-for-4, snapping his career-best 13-game winning streak.