CHICAGO – The rain exploded with a mighty crash throughout a 6-4 White Sox victory over the Mariners Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
But that downpour wasn’t nearly as noisy as the White Sox offense against reigning American League Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. The White Sox scored four runs during a second-inning deluge, started by a 449 foot home run from Eloy Jiménez, and added back-to-back homers from Tim Anderson and Luis Robert to chase Ray in the seventh, as they won a fourth straight.
Ray allowed six earned runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking two. In two starts against the White Sox in ‘21, Ray yielded two earned runs on 10 hits over 13 1/3 innings with 27 strikeouts and one walk. The last time he allowed six earned runs or more was Aug. 10, 2020, when the Rockies touched him up for six runs over 3 2/3 innings.
“The offense had a ton of respect for who we were facing. They came out there just trying to compete,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “You could tell he threw the ball better as the day went on. He’s a top-notch pitcher, but I gotta give our offense credit considering the conditions and everything. We came ready to compete.”
“We had a little chance to do homework. We had a plan,” White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said. “We succeeded with our plan and stuck to the plan throughout the whole game. We were able to pull out some more runs and stretch the lead a little bit.”
Anderson didn’t divulge detailed specifics, aside from stating the plan came from hitting coach Frank Menechino, and there were ideas coming from the guys bouncing thoughts off each other. The plan worked as Anderson finished a triple short of the cycle, doubling home two in the second before adding his 92nd career homer.
That double went to center, while Anderson’s home run traveled 359 feet to right.
“I gave him the inside of the plate and I took the outside half of the plate,” said Anderson of facing Ray. “I was able to get some good pitches to hit.”
The start of the game was delayed 47 minutes, and the rain really didn’t stop once it got going again in the first. White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel quipped how the Lake Gods were on the White Sox side, with it raining on Ray and sprinkling on him.
Of course, the White Sox offense connecting in the midst of the storm didn’t exactly hurt the cause.
“I’m a firm believer of great pitching beats good hitting any day and it was really nice to see us still swinging the bat,” Keuchel said. “We have one of the best lineups that, when healthy, I’ve ever seen. That’s good for us. And we play well at home.
“Regardless of rain or not, chances are I feel we’re going to put up some runs. It just so happened we put a few better swings on pitches than Robbie is used to probably last year. I was just trying to do my thing and get us in the dugout as quick as possible.”
Keuchel struggled with a 6.82 ERA over the second half of last season to the point where he was left off the White Sox playoff roster for their four-game Division Series loss to the Astros. He started the 2022 campaign on a high note, allowing three runs over five innings with five strikeouts and no walks.
Wednesday’s performance produced career victory No. 100 for the 34-year-old veteran.
“It means more to me than I originally thought it was going to,” Keuchel said. “Kind of think back quickly about various wins or sitting out ’19 half a year and COVID pretty much canceling two-thirds of a season. Not going to lie, I felt like this should have been a couple of years previously, but you never let this game get too ahead of yourself and that was a very humbling experience not to reach it until right now.
“You never can take anything for granted in this game and I’m very thankful to have lasted this long. I’d like to hang on for about five, six, seven more years … But all in all, it’s really special and I’m very thankful.”