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Young fan a 'blessing' during White Sox loss

@scottmerkin
July 28, 2019

CHICAGO -- Minnesota’s 11-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field was somewhat over for the White Sox before the first out of the game was recorded, as Dylan Covey allowed five runs on five hits to the first five batters faced. Covey -- who was optioned to Triple-A following

CHICAGO -- Minnesota’s 11-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field was somewhat over for the White Sox before the first out of the game was recorded, as Dylan Covey allowed five runs on five hits to the first five batters faced.

Covey -- who was optioned to Triple-A following the game -- was replaced by reliever Jimmy Cordero at that point. So, instead of focusing on the White Sox 4-13 start to the second half and current 2-5 homestand, let’s specifically look at the bottom of the sixth Sunday with a focus on two facets of manager Rick Renteria.

Box score

It was Renteria who, with his team trailing by nine runs, heard a young fan trying to get the crowd going and spark a rally behind the dugout. With help from a sideline television reporter, Renteria found the fan and gave the young man and his family a thumbs up before the White Sox scored a run on Jon Jay’s single. He also gave him a baseball with the inscription “Thank you, keep it going,” according to the broadcast.

Even after Renteria finished with his postgame media session, he was still talking about doing something for the young fan who inspired him during a trying day amid trying times for a team now standing at 46-57.

“When you have kids who are looking upon Major League Baseball players with so much joy and enthusiasm, for me as an adult, because we can become very cynical and sarcastic and very negative in any sport professionally, because it's all about performance and coming out on top,” Renteria explained. “Just hearing the voice of this kid cheering you on and cheering on the team, talking about, 'Let's go, White Sox.' For me, that lifted me up.

“I wanted to find out who it was, because believe it or not, even us old guys and the players on the field need to hear that support sometimes. When it comes from the smallest little guy you can see at that particular point, for me it was a blessing. I'm glad I heard him. That's what it's all about, and at the end of the day, if we have child-like joy and desire and excitement and willingness to go out and leave it out there, we'll be OK.”

Then there was the competitive side of Renteria that took over with the bases loaded, nobody out and the White Sox trailing, 9-1, in the bottom of the sixth. Eloy Jiménez worked an 0-2 count to a nine-pitch at-bat before taking a 3-2 offering from Kyle Gibson for what was a called third strike from home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Jimenez jumped in the air in disagreement and disbelief as Statcast showed the pitch to be low and ball four.

Renteria argued and was quickly tossed by Hernandez, marking Renteria’s sixth ejection this season and 25th overall. Gibson struck out Welington Castillo and AJ Reed to keep the then-promising rally at one run.

“From my vantage point, I thought the ball was down. I could have been wrong,” Renteria said. “You don't want those guys to have at-bats taken out of their hands, especially after a well-rounded at-bat and it was getting us going. It does kind of take the air out of it.”

Reed pitched the ninth for the White Sox, marking the second position player to take the mound for the White Sox this season along with José Rondón against Boston on May 3. Reed topped out at 89.4 mph, per Statcast, and worked a perfect ninth in his first appearance since going 12-2 for Kentucky in 2014. Reed threw a bullpen session a few days ago to be ready for this sort of situation.

“It happened a little sooner than expected,” Reed said. “Besides the score, I had a lot of fun.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.