Engel homers, Abreu delivers pair of RBI doubles as White Sox win series, improve to 38-24
Dallas Keuchel shook off a mental blunder by third baseman Yoan Moncada, pitching six innings of two-run ball against a tough Blue Jays lineup, and the Sox responded to a sloppy loss the night before and news that Nick Madrigal will be out for an extensive time by pouncing on the Blue Jays with three runs in the first inning en route to a 5-2 victory Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Yasmani Grandal and Adam Engel homered, Jose Abreu had an RBI double in the first against left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu and another double in the eighth for his 48th RBI, and relievers Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Liam Hendriks (AL leading 16th save) each pitched a scoreless inning to help the Sox (38-24) take a series win over a 31-29 team.
“More fun than anything, especially when you’re good and know you can win night in and night out,” Keuchel said. “That’s where we’re at. Against a tough lineup, we need these types of games to push us to October.”
Keuchel retired the first eight batters he faced and notched a season-high eight strikeouts but had to work extra because Moncada thought there were two outs when Randal Grichuk hit a double play ground ball at him in the sixth inning. Instead of throwing to second, Moncada threw to first to retire Grichuk, then took a couple steps toward the Sox dugout.
Noticeably perturbed, Keuchel gave up an RBI single to Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
“If I would make a mistake, I would hope somebody would get on me,” Keuchel said. “He’s a good enough player, he knows what happened. Hopefully he won’t make that mistake again.”
Keuchel said he also was “very frustrated” with himself for giving up a single to Gurriel.
Yermin Mercedes, batting second for the first time in one of Nick Madrigal’s customary spots in his return to the lineup after a day on the bench, had two hits including a double in the first.
Keuchel (5-1, 4.14 ERA) allowed two runs on six hits and two walks.
“He made some hellacious pitches to shut them down,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It was artistic, really.
“It was a really important win base on what happened yesterday, that was a tough day.”
Right-hander Michael Kopech, who hasn’t pitched since May 26 because of a hamstring strain will resume throwing bullpens “in the coming days” and possibly a sim game, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“We want to see how those go first before we decide whether it makes sense for him to go out on a rehab assignment or we’re able to get enough work done here to be able to just activate him back to the roster,” Hahn said. “So he’s making progress, and that’s the next phase that he’s moving into now.”
Rash of injuries
Nick Madrigal is the latest Sox to suffer a hamstring injury, joining Adam Engel, Tim Anderson, Michael Kopech and Billy Hamilton to be sidelined this season. And Luis Robert is out with a hip flexor strain.
The Sox aren’t the only team hit by the rash of soft tissue injuries but Hahn, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, vice president Ken Williams and Sox sports performance personnel are examining internally what the causes might be.
“We don’t have any conclusions yet but it’s an extremely fair question,” Hahn said.
“It’s not just a White Sox problem per se,” Hahn said. “There also is the element of bad luck or bad clustered luck of these things piling on top of each other.”