Chicago – The first two games of this American League division series between the Houston Astros and the Chicago White Sox were decidedly one-sided. The Astros thrashed their opponents United 15-5 and needed just one more win to advance to their fifth straight AL Championship Series on Sunday. The White Sox, winners of a weak division, looked unmatched.
Still, White Sox fans filled the guaranteed rate field on Sunday night for Game 3, their team’s first home postseason game since 2008. They rained – and obscenity – on the Astros, who were part of 2017 World Series team that was later discovered to have cheated. Stands lined with beer, energy and black jerseys to lift the spirits of their hometown team.
“The place was shaking,” said White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal.
In front of 40,288 people, the White Sox responded in kind, winning a 12-6 win over the Astros that saved their season and reduced their deficit to two-games-to-one in a best-of-five series . The odds are still in favor of the Astros, but the White Sox lived to play another day, with Game 4 scheduled for Monday afternoon.
The White Sox survived a nine-innings game that lasted about four and a half hours. He survived after his starting pitcher only lasted another two-thirds of the innings. He survived an Astros offense that was the highest-scoring in baseball during the regular season and the second-toughest—though it raised a few eyebrows among some in the White Sox bullpen.
Ryan Tapera, who bowled two perfect innings as part of a strong White Sox relief effort on Sunday, found it curious that the Astros got out 16 times in Game 3 in Chicago, several times in minute maids in Games 1 and 2. I was combined. Park in Houston.
“They obviously have a reputation for doing some sketchy stuff over there,” he said. “You could say it’s a slight difference. You saw tonight’s ups and downs compared to the first two games in Minute Maid.”
The White Sox, however, were also different on Sunday, and the game shifted to the third and fourth innings. In the third, Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker beat Michael Kopech by 2 runs to take a 5–1 lead. Kopech gave relief to White Sox starter Dylan Siege, who was dismissed early after scoring three runs.
But living in a raucous stadium, the White Sox mounted a furious rally. Grendel smashed two runs on Astros starter Luis Garcia, reducing their deficit to 5-3.
Garcia hits another but takes two singles. Astros manager Dusty Baker decided to drop his starter in the game, but after a 2–0 draw on Garcia’s count, to White Sox outfielder Leuri Garcia, Baker made the unusual decision to drop him out of the batting in the middle of the game. took. Baker said he didn’t turn to Yimi Garcia any time soon because the reliever needed more time to warm up.
In a tough spot, Yami Garcia hit a two-run home run off Leuri Garcia, giving the White Sox a 6-5 lead and sending the crowd into a frenzy at the guaranteed rate field.
Even after the Astros tied the game with a single by third baseman Alex Bregman at the top of the fourth inning, the White Sox charged back in the bottom half of the innings. First baseman Jose Abreu scored a run to put his team 7-6 ahead. The lead extended to 8-6 on a curious play with 2009 AL Cy Young Award-winning Astros pitcher Jack Greinke, whose performance and stuff has largely returned.
After Greinke, making his second relief appearance since 2008, Grendel got a ball to bite down the line, fielded by Astros first baseman Yuli Guriel and kicked home. But instead of running on the dirt of the first base line, Grandal ran on the grass and in. Gurriel’s throw landed in Grendel’s left hand and left Astros catcher Martin Maldonado behind, allowing White Sox center fielder Louis Robert to slide safely.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Grendel simply ran from the angle he left home plate at first base and did not intentionally interfere. Baker disagreed but called it a smart play by Grendel.
“I wish I could tell you it was a heads-up play,” Grendel said. “I just saw the replay. I didn’t know I was running so far inside the line.”
In the end it didn’t matter. Next batsman Eloy Jimenez added another run with a single off Grinke. And later, the White Sox scored many more runs. Even though the momentum of the game dragged on in the opening round, the stand remained full and loud through the ninth.
“I can’t tell you what the effect was on our ball club, which made the fans stay till the end,” La Russa said. “It was amazing for four and a half hours.”