Good-win! White Sox take set on walk-off HR

Chicago outfielder's 1st game-ending jack moves Cleveland 9 back in division

August 1st, 2021

CHICAGO -- had a pretty good feeling the ballgame was over when he made contact on a Nick Wittgren fastball with one out in the ninth, as his walk-off homer gave the White Sox a 2-1 victory over Cleveland on Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“In my mind, it was. I prayed to God I was right, just happened to be so,” said Goodwin, who knocked out a center-cut, 3-1 offering. “But yeah, I had very little doubt.”

The projected 371-foot drive with a 108.5 mph exit velocity, per Statcast, marked Goodwin’s first career walk-off blast, and he enjoyed the moment. Goodwin pulled off an expert bat flip and then turned to the White Sox dugout, pounding his chest in celebration.

But this connection meant more than Goodwin’s sixth home run of the season. It put the White Sox lead in the American League Central back to nine games over Cleveland, with Chicago (62-44) standing as the lone team in the division above .500. It also reduced the team’s magic number to 50 to clinch its first division title since 2008.

This rubber match and really this series were so hard-fought that manager Tony La Russa even chose to take in the victory and not even think about the next series against Kansas City during Monday’s scheduled off-day.

“I’m going to enjoy this one. We all are,” La Russa said. “Today it’s about savoring this sweet game and clutch plays. We had the last hero, which is always a nice way to do it.”

“That's really the most important part of this whole situation, to come out on top of the series and get the win,” Goodwin said. “We were excited, We battled 'em, big time. We've got to give them props for coming out and playing us tough, like pretty much everybody has been doing for the last couple weeks. But for us to keep going, pressing on and coming out on top, I think that was the biggest part."

Goodwin’s homer supported a bullpen day for the White Sox where everyone contributed.

Jimmy Lambert, who started the game after coming up from Triple-A Charlotte, allowed a Myles Straw home run over three innings. Lambert went back to Charlotte following the victory, with a corresponding roster move coming prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the Royals.

Aaron Bummer, Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks (5-2) retired 9 of the 10 hitters they faced to close out the victory, but it was Reynaldo López who got the White Sox to that point via three scoreless frames following Lambert.

López gave up one hit and struck out four, including Franmil Reyes to end the sixth with Amed Rosario on third as the go-ahead run. A usually low-key López let loose with a few fist pumps after recording the big out.

“I knew they had a runner at third and I didn't want that runner to score. I knew I had to do my best there. When I struck him out it felt good. It felt very good,” López said via interpreter Billy Russo. “I've been feeling good from the beginning.

“If I'm feeling good, if I'm healthy, I know what I can do. That's why I always said, 'If God gives me health, I'm going to work hard to perform as I know I can do it.'"

José Abreu picked up his 78th RBI when he was hit by a Cal Quantrill pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth. The pitch came up and in on Abreu, who has been hit 14 times this season, much like the James Karinchak pitch hitting Abreu on the left side of the head on Friday.

La Russa had a brief discussion with the umpires after this latest hit-by-pitch, but nothing more came of it. There was no retaliation by the White Sox, who are fiercely protective of their leader, but they also knew both pitches were clearly unintentional.

Then again, the White Sox had the best revenge by walking off the Indians and further moving them into the division’s rearview mirror.

“We just got dogs. We got a bunch of dudes that come out and give you everything you want and then some. And no backing down,” Goodwin said. “It means the world to get the opportunity, to be able to play with these guys every day, to play in front of these fans every day.

“I love it here, I love Chicago. I'm just blessed to be in this situation, man, I try not to take it for granted.”