TA7 sparks rally that extends Sox season

Anderson sets the tone in decisive, controversial 4th inning of ALDS Game 3

October 12th, 2021

CHICAGO -- Of course, the decisive rally began with . If the White Sox are going to pull this off -- reversing the damage done in Houston and completing an improbable comeback in this American League Division Series -- that is where it will have to start.

With Chicago's collective backs against the wall on Sunday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, and the club staring down a two-game deficit in the best-of-five ALDS against the Astros, Anderson flicked a Yimi García slider just before the baseball could spin beyond the reach of his bat.

From there, October took over in what unraveled into a wild, game-altering fourth inning.

"Timmy goes, we go," catcher said in the wake of an emphatic 12-6 victory for the White Sox in Game 3 of the ALDS. "That's just the name of the game. He can do things with the bat. He can do things with his legs. He's a very smart player."

In the fourth, Anderson's chopper up the middle -- one that eluded García's behind-the-back stab with his glove -- led to an infield single. That hit (one of three on the night for Anderson) was hardly the loudest hit in a game full of offensive heroics, but it was the initial spark in Chicago's momentum-swinging frame.

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa ranged to his left, collected the ball and fired on the run, but there would be no nabbing the fleet-footed Anderson. Chicago then strung together five hits (fittingly, all singles) in a three-run outburst in which the game was indeed impacted by inches, and required some rulebook referencing.

"It was a bad series of events for us," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "The ball wasn't bouncing our way."

It sure felt like the ball was bound to bounce Chicago's way at some point.

• During the first two games in Houston, the White Sox had 18 hits (all singles). The White Sox extended that streak to 20 singles before Grandal's two-run homer in the third inning. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that marked longest streak of hits without any of the extra-base variety to open an MLB postseason or a playoff series.

• During the regular season, extra-base hits accounted for 36% of White Sox hits overall. Even with four extra-base hits in Game 3, Chicago's rate sits at 11.8% in this ALDS.

"It's really a tough-minded bunch," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "And sometimes you get rewarded with a comeback like that. But it's just the way we've been. We know we got some offense."

Home runs by Grandal and in a five-run third inning helped the White Sox erase the 5-1 lead Houston built through three innings. After the three-run fourth -- one that broke a 6-6 deadlock -- Chicago never looked back.

The Astros had an 85% win probability through three innings, but Grandal said he assured reliever in the dugout that the White Sox were hardly out of it.

"I told him, 'I've been here before,'" Grandal said. "'We're going to come back, and we're going to win it.' I don't think he really believed me until he saw that we actually came back."

Timmy goes, the White Sox go.

After Anderson's leadoff single in the fourth, he raced to third base on a hit to right from . The White Sox shortstop did not have to run too hard when singled to center to put the Sox up, 7-6.

Then, Grandal found himself caught in the middle of a hectic play.

With runners on the corners, Grandal chopped a pitch to Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who came up firing to the plate. Before the ball could reach catcher Martín Maldonado, it nicked Grandal's left arm and veered off-target and skipped away, bringing another run home.

Grandal was noticeably inside the line as he hustled out of the box, but the umpires did not see any intentional interference on the play. Baker called it a "smart play" on Grandal's part but still argued that it was interference. La Russa "guaranteed" the catcher did not hit the ball on purpose.

"I wish I could tell you it was a heads-up play," Grandal said. "I just saw the replay. I didn't even know I was running that far inside the line. I was actually just trying to get to first."

followed with a run-scoring dribbler up the third-base line that went down as yet another infield hit. Altogether, the five singles in the fourth had a combined distance from the bat to the point of contact with the ground of 83 feet, per Statcast.

It started with Anderson, who finished with his fifth three-hit performance in six career postseason games. In fact, Anderson's 16 hits are the most in history by a player in his first six playoff contests.

"That's why he's our leadoff guy," Grandal said. "If he goes, we go. And we're going to follow him all the way through."