The Chicago White Sox’s lead – once a six – was down to enter the seventh inning on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Manager Tony La Russa called up relievers Aaron Boomer, Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendrix – and each got the job done, helping the Sox hold on to a 6-5 victory in front of 11,162 at Tropicana Field.
“The offense was over early, gave us that big lead and the bullpen closed it for three innings,” said Sox starter Lucas Giolito. “A victory is a victory. And the victory is huge.”
The Sox took two of three runs in the series, winning both by one run.
Runs came for the Sox late Saturday night with an eighth of three runs as Jake Berger went on to give homer a 3-2 win by two runs.
The runs came early Sunday as the Sox scored four in the first and two in the second. Reese got to within 6-5 after scoring four runs in the sixth.
Bummer, Graveman and Hendrix combined for five runs in the last three innings to give one hit.
“In Toronto, (we) lost some really tough games,” La Russa said of last week’s three-game sweep. “Lost the first game (of the Rays series), came back and beat them twice. See what our record is (25-27), but we have guts, we love to compete and we are tough enough.
“Sometimes we have to perform better, no doubt. That’s the key to moving forward, to play better, sometimes to pitch better. But the other part is talent and rigor. That’s a lot. It matters.”
The Sox set a season high with 16 hits, three each from Andrew Vaughan and Louis Robert. Vaughan drove in one and scored twice. Robert had an RBI.
Burger doubled and had two RBIs. Yasmani Grandal also had two RBIs
Eight players in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
Berger drove with a double in the first two. It was just the fourth hit in 36 at-bats with a loaded base for the Sox this season.
“(I) was able to control my emotions for that bat,” Berger said.
Grendel followed with a check-swing single to the right which brought home two more.
“We had to take advantage of getting good pitches and getting them out on the plate,” Vaughan said of the approach against Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, who allowed six runs for eight hits in 1⅔ innings.
Giolito had a four-run lead before throwing his first pitch.
The Sox added two more for the right-hander in the second. Vaughan scored a run with a double and scored a single off Robert to the left.
“You have a big lead to work with, you just want to go out there and attack the strike zone,” Giolito said.
He said he was able to do so “for the most part”.
Giolito said, “That last innings, falling behind some and not taking people away, but overall, got through six innings and kept the lead.” “Though made it a little too interesting.”
Giolito allowed five runs (two earned) on eight hits with three strikes and two walks.
Ray took advantage of an error by Grendel at first base during the sixth of four runs, which included a two-run homer by Mike Zunino.
“During the start it was a bit of a fight, working with the runners on base,” Giolito said. “Getting some big double plays, the defense was great.
“But like my last start (against the Blue Jays on Tuesday) (four runs) fifth inning – this sixth start – just didn’t execute pitches when I needed a few more executed pitches to get out of it and didn’t get it done. Maintained a huge lead for us.”
This is where the relief workers stepped in.
“It’s nice to know that when my day was done, some people came to kick it off,” Giolito said.
Bummer allowed a hit and dismissed one in the seventh. Graveman dismissed the team in eighth place and Hendrix made a strike out 1-2-3 in the ninth for his 16th defense.
“That’s how our front office built the bullpen,” La Russa said.
After being swept away at Toronto, the Sox made a comeback with an impressive series win against the Rays.
“Big speed maker for us,” Giolito said. “The road trip did not start well. It was important that we find our groove and win this series so that we can go home, enjoy the off day (Monday) and keep that momentum back at home. ,