On a cold, wintry, Chicago day, White Sox fans flocked to Guaranteed Rate Field for the 2018 home opener. Many had a great time beforehand, tailgating in the parking lots outside prior to heading inside for the main event. After the parade of cars and a ceremonial first pitch from 2005 World Series champion, A.J. Pierzynski, it was time for White Sox baseball.
James Shields got the nod and once again got into a first inning, bases loaded jam. However, this time the result was much better as he was able to work out of it. In his next four innings of work, Shields gave up only 3 earned runs while striking one. While not dominant, Shields got the job done and put the White Sox in a very good position to win. Danny Farquhar, Luis Avilan, and Nate Jones did a nice job to get the Sox through the latter innings. Then, things took a disappointing turn in the ninth inning.
With a 7-4 lead, Rick Renteria turned to closer Joakim Soria to shut things down. Soria entered the game 2-for-2 in save situations this season. After retiring Dixon Machado on a ground out to third, Soria gave up a single to Leonys Martin. He then came right back to get Jeimer Candelario to pop out to Tim Anderson. With two outs, the fans were ready to get out of the brutal cold in what looked to be a surefire White Sox win. Then, Niko Goodrum hit his first Major League home run to cut the lead to 7-6. The Sox couldn’t possibly blow this game with two outs in the ninth, could they? Yes, they could.
After Nick Castellanos singled, Victor Martinez hit a ball that fell short in front of Leury Garcia and somehow got by him. Garcia’s poor defense on this play allowed Castellanos to score all the way from first to tie things up at 7-7. Then, the Tigers pounced on Gregory Infante and Aaron Bummer in the tenth to give Detroit a 9-7 lead.
On the offensive side of things, Yolmer Sanchez dominated Detroit’s pitching to provide a nice spark in the lineup. He hit two triples, with his first coming on a ball that was sliced into the right field corner that plated Matt Davidson and Avi Garcia. Tim Anderson also continued to terrorize the base-paths with yet another stolen base in the second inning. But that wasn’t all as he managed to score on a shallow fly ball to centerfield two batters later. This was an play that energized the clubhouse and everyone in attendance.
In the tenth, the White Sox kept things interesting as Omar Narvaez and Nicky Delmonico reached base after being walked and hit by a pitch respectively. This brought up the tying run, Yoan Moncada, who just couldn’t seem to find his swing. He went down on strikes for the fourth time to complete his 0-for-6 day at the plate.
W: Joe Jimenez (1-0), SV: Shane Greene (1), L: Gregory Infante (0-1)
Sox On 35th Player of the Game: Yolmer Sanchez (3-4: 2 triples, single, 3 RBIs)
Next Game: The White Sox will be playing the Tigers in an afternoon game on Saturday. Lucas Giolito is set to make his second start of the year as he faces RHP Michael Fulmer who is 0-1 with a 1.13 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM CST. The game can be seen on WGN and heard on WGN 720 AM.