On a beautiful afternoon for baseball, it seemed a lovely time for a victory over one of baseball’s best teams, with a series victory on the line as well.
The Sox were well positioned to do just that with a 4-0 lead and Dylan Cease getting swings and misses and breezing through four scoreless innings against the Dodgers at Guaranteed Rate Field.
But then, bad defense by third baseman Jake Burger happened. Some big Dodgers hits happened. An odd decision by manager Tony La Russa backfired.
The result was a maddening 11-9 loss dropping the Sox to 26-29 on a sunkissed afternoon after before 25,482 fans, many of whom were gone by the last couple of innings.
All was well when Josh Harrison had tripled and scored on Danny Mendick’s infield groundout, halting Dodgers lefty Tyler Anderson’s scoreless innings streak at 28. Three more runs came on AJ Pollock’s RBI ground-rule double, Adam Engel getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Harrison’s sacrifice fly in the fourth.
But the Dodgers pounced when Burger mishandled Austin Barnes’ sharply hit potential double-play grounder that would have ended the fifth with no runs. After Cease struck out Mookie Betts, three consecutive hits — Freddie Freeman’s two run double, Trea Turner’s infield single at Burger and Max Muncy’s two-run double — scored five runs. On the Turner single, Burger held his ground playing a high bounce instead of charging and Turner beat his throw.
Reliever Matt Foster’s wild pitch scored the sixth run of the inning, all of which were unearned. Cease gave up six runs on six hits, all of the runs unearned and all of them during an inning in which he was asked to throw an almost preposterous 45 pitches, hiking his total to a career high 110.
Burger got one run back with his fourth homer in 12 games in the bottom of the fifth.
Then, in the sixth the Dodgers plated four more runs, three of them on Max Muncy’s three-run homer against left-hander Bennett Sousa. Muncy was rankled by manager Tony La Russa’s decision to intentionally walk the right-handed hitting Trea Turner with a 1-2 count when a wild pitch left first base open.
“You walk a guy on 1-2, f– you b–,” Muncy said after crossing home plate, turning his head in the direction of the Sox dugout.
A night after the Dodgers radio broadcast team questioned La Russa’s lineup with struggling switch-hitter Leury Garcia in the leadoff spot, it seemed everyone from the Dodgers camp was on the manager’s case.
When the inning was over, the Sox trailed 10-5.
Two four-pitch walks by lefty Alex Vesia, infield singles by Pollock and Yasmani Grandal and a throwing error by Vesia scored two in the eighth and got the Sox within three runs with two runners in scoring position with no out. But Vesi struck out Adam Engel and Harrison and right fielder Mookie Betts ran down Mendick’s drive to right center.
Trailing 11-7 in the ninth, the Sox scored two on a wild pitch by Daniel Hudson and Pollock’s RBI single, but with the winning run at the plate, Grandal fouled out and pinch hitter Gavin Sheets struck out.