CHICAGO -- The White Sox-Cubs rivalry can be fraught at times, with both fan bases expressing extreme passion. Given the unusual timing of the Crosstown Cup's second series of the year and the first Guaranteed Rate Field sellout of 2018, White Sox fans surely wanted to play spoiler after Friday's
CHICAGO -- The White Sox-Cubs rivalry can be fraught at times, with both fan bases expressing extreme passion. Given the unusual timing of the Crosstown Cup's second series of the year and the first Guaranteed Rate Field sellout of 2018, White Sox fans surely wanted to play spoiler after Friday's series-opening win.
Saturday night's contest didn't go as well for the South Siders, however. Although Lucas Giolito gave up a first-inning home run and the White Sox came back to tie, a misjudged fly ball by Ryan LaMarre in the fifth contributed to the loss. That non-error resulted in a game-changing Daniel Murphy RBI double and a three-run fifth, proving key in the 8-3 loss to the Cubs.
"I took two steps in, and then it just disappeared in the lights. When it came back out, it was high and still had some steam on it and I couldn't really recover," LaMarre said. "I take full responsibility for it, but just hope to learn from it and don't put yourself in that position."
"It's not the first time I've been pitching and an outfielder lost it in the lights," Giolito said. "When you lose a ball, you lose a ball. There's nothing you can really do."
Giolito, much like Reynaldo Lopez the night before, hit a bump in the first inning, serving up a two-run homer to Javier Baez and putting the White Sox in a hole before they came to bat. Baez attacked Giolito's first pitch, an 82.7-mph changeup that didn't sink, prompting "M-V-P" chants from the visiting fans and hefty counter-cheers from the Sox faithful.
Following that homer, Giolito breezed through the next several innings. The young right-hander retired 12 of the next 13 Cubs batters, sitting in the low 90s with his fastball and using his offspeed weapons to great effect. Giolito finished the night with 6 2/3 innings, registering 10 swinging strikes on his changeup and slider combined.
"I didn't think I had great stuff, I just though my sinker was moving a lot, and so we kind of realized that after the first inning, maybe the second inning, and we're just playing off of that," Giolito said. "A few of the base hits were kind of those running sinkers in on their hands, and they just kind of popped it over into the outfield. It is what it is."
After the Baez home run, the White Sox jumped on an opportunity to close the gap. Avisail Garcia drove in a run in the bottom of the first with an RBI single after a Baez throwing error allowed Yolmer Sanchez to advance to second, and Tim Anderson slugged his 20th home run to lead off the third inning.
Things went south for the White Sox in the fifth. After Kyle Schwarber and David Bote recorded consecutive one-out singles, Murphy poked his fateful line drive to left field. LaMarre took a couple steps in, froze and the ball sailed over his head and rolled to the wall to score Schwarber. Benjamin Zobrist followed with two-run single up the middle, putting the White Sox behind for good.
Giolito said the only pitch he would've taken back from Saturday's outing was that single to Zobrist, when Giolito said he hung a curveball ahead in the count.
"That's just a situation, learning experience for me," he said. "If things aren't going the way you want it to behind you, you kind of bear down and take the weight, and I didn't do that there and it kind of ended up costing us the game."
"This is a day when I think numbers aren't as accurate as they might seem," manager Rick Renteria said. "I thought Gio was navigating that [fifth] inning. And in spite of all that, he still kept working and did a nice job, got us through the [6 2/3] innings of work. And you're right. The line looks a little worse than it probably should have been."
The White Sox chipped away at the lead in the sixth inning on Matt Davidson's two-out RBI single, but they couldn't bring home another run. The Cubs tacked on three insurance runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach.
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Anderson was ejected for the second time this season, after a replay review in the ninth inning of a Baez slide at second base on a fielder's choice. The White Sox challenged that Baez had attempted to interfere with a potential double play by reaching out to grab Anderson's legs, but the call was confirmed. Anderson appeared to ask second-base umpire Joe West for an explanation, and the conversation ultimately escalated to an ejection, which drew Renteria out of the dugout and led to his ejection.
The White Sox wrap up the Crosstown Cup on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT, sending Carlos Rodon (6-6, 3.22 ERA) to the mound. Rodon has followed up a successful August with a string of lackluster September starts, carrying a 5.25 ERA in 24 innings this month. Kyle Hendricks (12-11, 3.58) goes for the Cubs.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.