One team made the most of their chances with the loaded bases Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The other doesn’t.
The Tampa Bay Rays pulled two walks full of bases and hit runs with one penalty and a single during a four-run first inning.
The Chicago White Sox loaded bases in fourth and fifth but got away with just one run in each inning and fell 9-3 in front of 17,798 in the series finals.
Sox starter Vince Velasquez allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 4⅔ innings.
“Unfortunately, the first inning bit my butt a bit,” Velasquez said. “I’m happy with the fact that I limited the damage and kept it within four. But execution is still important because I know I could have executed a little better.”
The Rays loaded bases with an out in the first and Velasquez walked with Yandy Díaz. Josh Lowe hit a grounder back at Velasquez, who appeared to be in position to throw home. But instead of a possible inning-ending doubleplay, Velasquez couldn’t handle the comeback and was charged with a fault.
“I’m one of those athletes, I can jump off the hill,” Velasquez said. “I like to bounce, I like to communicate with my infield to see where they are because I know I can reach those balls.
“But it hit me in the palm a bit. Didn’t have it fully under control. I could have contained that inning.”
Manuel Margot drove in a run with a single, and Velasquez footed Kevin Kiermaier for another run to make it 4-0 home.
After the rocky start, Velasquez retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced.
“That was the highlight of the day,” said Sox manager Tony La Russa. “He was really angry. He’s a very conscientious guy and he gutted it. He gave us a great chance, but we couldn’t do enough offensively.”
The Sox had chances to get back into the game, but the Rays made big plays early — like Lowe jumping the wall at left center to rob Tim Anderson to start the bottom of the first.
“That catch was impressive,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “I thought that was a no-nonsense homer. Good that it was cold and the wind was blowing from the other direction. But Josh is 6-foot-4, he got up there pretty well.
The Sox were unbeaten until Jose Abreu fell out with an out in the fourth. Two walks followed and Gavin Sheets was hit by a pitch, bringing Abreu home.
Josh Harrison batted with a nine pitch-at-bat and Jake Burger landed second in the final.
The Sox reloaded the bases with an out an inning later. Yasmani Grandal showed up. But with Eloy Jiménez in the lead, Adam Engel scored a pass to make it 4-2. Anderson and Abreu went up a base as a result.
Anderson later tried to score in Jiménez’ at-bat when Francisco Mejía escaped a field. The Rays’ catcher recovered in time and turned the ball to assist Jalen Beeks, who tagged the sliding Anderson before he could touch the plate.
“They played well, (but) even if they played well, we can do better,” La Russa said. “We didn’t have a good day offensively. But it is easier to pitch in such games than to bat (the temperature at the first pitch was 41 degrees). They didn’t score until the last day so a tough day to be a hitter too.
The Rays scored four points in the eighth and one in the ninth to avoid being swept in the three-game series. The Sox were limited to three hits — singles from Abreu and Engel and a ninth-inning homer from Sheets.
“Any fight against another guy is always tough,” Sheets said. “You like getting an appetizer and seeing him once, twice, even thrice, and you kind of absorb what he’s got. It’s weird to only face helpers every time. You can’t really settle in. You just trust the scouting reports and get ready.
“It’s a super rock-solid team, from head to toe. Great helpers, good appetizers. It’s a tough matchup and it’s teams like this that make it to October. It’s always good to get a series of wins against a team like that.”
https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/04/17/chicago-white-sox-are-held-to-3-hits-and-cant-recover-from-the-tampa-bay-rays-4-run-1st-in-a-9-3-loss-in-the-series-finale/ Chicago White Sox stay on 3 hits, can’t recover from Tampa Bay Rays 1st in 4 runs in 9-3 loss in series finals – The Mercury News