BOSTON -- It was a good weekend for the White Sox in Boston, completed by Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park before 36,998. But it was a better 10 days overall for Rick Renteria's 22-41 squad.The White Sox took a home series last weekend from Milwaukee,
BOSTON -- It was a good weekend for the White Sox in Boston, completed by Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park before 36,998. But it was a better 10 days overall for Rick Renteria's 22-41 squad.
The White Sox took a home series last weekend from Milwaukee, the National League Central leaders, and then split four games in Minnesota. They won the series from the Red Sox, outplaying a team sitting 22 games over .500 on Sunday afternoon and held Boston to six runs in total while scoring eight. The team's 6-4 record comes on the heels of being swept in Cleveland, followed by a players-only meeting.
"Well, yeah, we had our meeting, but it was private between the guys," said White Sox reliever Joakim Soria, who saved all four victories on this road trip, including a scoreless ninth Sunday. "Whatever is working we are going to keep doing it. The chemistry of the team is a little bit better.
"Guys just are enjoying the game. They are coming to the field expecting to win. It's pretty good lately. You have great chemistry on the team and it reflects on the field."
Dylan Covey pitched six scoreless innings Friday, topping former White Sox ace Chris Sale in a 1-0 final, and Carlos Rodon followed with a solid 2018 debut in Saturday's setback after rehabbing his way back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September. Reynaldo Lopez completed that starting pitching trifecta, allowing one earned run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings Sunday, while striking out six and walking three.
Over his two starts on the road this week, Lopez yielded seven hits in 13 1/3 innings. White Sox pitching as a whole held the Red Sox to 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position, and 1-for-11 on Sunday.
"We are playing good. We are doing the little things, and the hitters are doing their job," said Lopez through interpreter Billy Russo. "The pitching staff is doing their job, too. When you as a team can do the little things and can work as a team with all the parts integrated to the things that you need to do, you will have good results, and I think that's what we've been doing the last couple of weeks."
"Our pitching did awesome, and every game was close and low scoring," White Sox right fielder Daniel Palka said. "In that Game 1, we were like, 'Our pitching is going to be there, so play good defense and get enough runs and we've got a chance.'"
In both the third and sixth innings, the White Sox scored runs without getting a hit off of Boston starter Rick Porcello. Tim Anderson walked with the bases loaded to force home a run in the third. In the sixth, Anderson walked, was bunted to second by Charlie Tilson and scored from second on Trayce Thompson's ground out. First baseman Mitch Moreland flipped to Porcello covering on the Thompson play, but when Porcello slipped and collided with first-base umpire Quinn Wolcott, Anderson was able to beat the throw home.
"I kind of figured it was way away from first, and I knew he had a long run," Anderson said. "I saw him go down. I was busting it. And I was able to get in and score."
"When he's on the bases, he can do some pretty special things," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He was able to take advantage of speed and the situation and scored the run. Great heads-up play by him."
Palka completed the scoring in the ninth, connecting on a 0-2 pitch from Matt Barnes for a two-run double, giving him 22 RBIs on the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fielding gem: Anderson and first baseman Matt Davidson combined to take a hit away from Xander Bogaerts to end the fifth and, in the process, took a run away from the Red Sox to maintain the lead. With Sandy Leon on third and two outs, Bogaerts hit a grounder in the hole gloved by Anderson, who threw across his body to a stretching Davidson to nab a sliding Bogaerts.
"I just remember getting an out and getting excited," Anderson said. "It was a good play in a key situation. Was able to get out of the inning and scratch out a win."
That was close: The Red Sox sent 13 men to the plate combined over the sixth and seventh innings and scored a grand total of one unearned run. Lopez induced a routine pop fly to Anderson from Blake Swihart to strand the bases loaded in the sixth, and after a Yoan Moncada fielding error allowed a run to score in the seventh, Brock Holt's fly out to center against Jace Fry stranded the bases loaded once again.
"Today I was able to control the situation and slow the game down and be able to be effective in that situation," said Lopez of the sixth.
Lopez has held opponents to seven hits in the last 45 at-bats. He is limiting opponents to a .215 average this season.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Sunday awad for hard-hitting goes to Palka, with exit velocities of 113.7, 112.8, 116.4 and 107.1 mph in four of his five at-bats, according to Statcast™. Palka picked up two doubles in those four at-bats.
His first three connections made Palka just the third player this season to have a game with three 112+ mph batted balls in one game, joining Davidson on Opening Day and Nelson Cruz.
Four 107+ mph batted balls in one game ties him with Cruz (April 28) for the most hit by any player this season. The only players to previously do this before 2018 since Statcast™ began tracking data in 2015 were Tommy Joseph (May 24, 2016), Wilson Ramos (Aug. 1, 2016) and Giancarlo Stanton (May 7, 2015).
HE SAID IT
"It just goes along with what we wanted to start out in the month of June. We knew we had a bunch of good teams coming up, and we had a game plan to refresh ourselves and start out new." -- Palka
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The White Sox challenged a ninth-inning grounder hit by Moncada, which ricocheted off of Barnes, but was ruled an out at first after Barnes recovered. The call was overturned by video replay, giving Moncada two hits for the day.
The White Sox open a seven-game homestand and a four-game set against the Indians with a first pitch of 7:10 p.m. CT Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Lucas Giolito gets the call for the White Sox, with his 39 walks ranking among the Major League leaders. The White Sox have scored one run or less in seven of Giolito's 12 starts, including zero runs five times. Cleveland will counter with right-hander Carlos Carrasco.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.