Second salami of the week: McCann was the man, perhaps with a blessing from St. Walton. (@WhiteSox)
As much as the Angels tried to trip up the White Sox, with “70s Weekend” celebrated during the same game Bill Walton stepped in for color commentary on the Chicago broadcast, they failed. The South Siders prevailed, 7-2, thanks to a masterfully-pitched game, and timely hitting, baserunning … and bunting.
With Lucas Giolito on the mound, the White Sox ran into a jam in the first. After loading the bases with only one out on a single, hit by pitch, and walk, Giolito settled down and escaped the inning unharmed. He struck out Kole Calhoun on a deceptive changeup before getting Albert Pujols to ground out to retire the side.
In the top of the second, the White Sox had a failed threat of their own. With a runner on first and two outs, Jon Jay reached on a throwing error by pitcher Patrick Sandoval. Yolmer Sánchez drew a walk to load the bases, but Sandoval induced a flyout from Ryan Goins to end the inning.
However, a threat that did not come up empty occurred in the top of the third. Leury García doubled to lead off the inning, and Tim Anderson followed with this single to put the first run on the board for either side.
After a balk and a groundout that advanced him, Anderson found himself on third base. With one out, James McCann came up with an excellent opportunity to drive in an insurance run, but his grounder did not get the job done. However, Anderson was able to score on a wild pitch anyway to make the score 2-0.
The Angels cut their deficit in half during the bottom of the third. David Fletcher led off a line drive to left that Eloy Jiménez did not play properly. Fletcher ended up at third with a leadoff triple. Though Giolito put the rally on hold by striking out superhuman Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani hit an RBI single to drive in the first run for L.A.
The White Sox got back their insurance run in the fourth. José Abreu hit a leadoff double, and two bunts later he had crossed home plate. Jon Jay laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the mound, and Yolmer Sánchez placed one perfectly to drive Abreu home and reach first safely.
Though Giolito was sharp, that did not prevent Mike Trout from doing Mike Trout things. In the fifth, Trout launched a 438-footer to bring the Angels back within one. That was Trout’s 41st home run, as he continues his dominance over the baseball world.
Trout also had an outfield assist on a Jiménez fly ball in the sixth. James McCann attempted to advance to third, but Trout nailed him. The next batter, Welington Castillo, hit a sharp liner, and you will never believe who made a great play on it. That’s right; it was Trout. FanGraphs had Trout at 8.0 WAR, and Baseball-Reference had him at 7.9 entering today. Those numbers have surely increased since the start of play tonight. Mercy, what a player.
Giolito worked his way in and out of trouble in the sixth, as he pitched around a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced. Giolito struck out Fletcher to escape the jam, and his performance would end on that high note. Giolito’s line ended up as follows: six innings, six hits, two runs (both earned), three walks, 11 strikeouts. It is worth mentioning that the only team in the majors that strikes out less than the Angels is the Astros.
With the score still 3-2 in the top of the eighth, up stepped McCann, and a grooved, 1-0 slider was deposited way, way deep (446 feet, to be exact):
This was McCann’s second eighth inning grand slam in the past three games. I don’t have a stat for you about that, but I imagine it has been quite some time since that has happened.
After Giolito exited, Aaron Bummer and Kelvin Herrera did the heavy lifting for the final three. Neither of them allowed a run, so the White Sox won by a score of 7-2. As a result, the White Sox improved to 55-66, and the Angels fell to 60-64.
Later, the White Sox will play the third of this four-game series in Anaheim. That matchup will start at 8:07 CST, and Héctor Santiago the White Sox’s probable starter. WGN 720 will have your radio coverage, and Lauren Wilner will have your coverage here at SSHP.