As in, a total group effort producing the South Siders’ third consecutive win overall and their fifth straight at Wrigley in this Crosstown Series.
“That’s the kind of win that makes us feel good, especially coming off of last night,” said White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, who picked up his first victory of the season. “That was a big one, and this one, trending in the right direction. Unbelievable effort from everybody.”
“We faced a lot of adversity and now we have guys banged up,” said White Sox reliever Matt Foster, who escaped an eighth-inning jam for his second hold in two nights. “But we have other guys who step up and fill those roles and just do their job, and we come through it.”
Giolito set the tone by striking out 10 over 5 2/3 innings, allowing home runs to Nico Hoerner and Patrick Wisdom during a three-run second but little else in his 101 pitches. The Cubs actually held a 3-1 lead going into the third, when Leury García connected for a solo home run off Kyle Hendricks to stem the momentum.
With two outs and Ian Happ on first in the sixth, Willson Contreras finished a seven-pitch at-bat against Reynaldo López with a blast to center destined for game-tying extra bases. But Robert ran down the drive and made the catch, crashing into the padless wall after the sprint. He was down on the field momentarily but stayed in the game.
“Well, he’s strong, but he’s not as strong as that brick wall out there in [center] field,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “He kept saying he’s OK. He hit himself pretty hard.”
“Definitely, it was frustrating,” said Cubs second baseman Nick Madrigal, a teammate of Robert last season. “Not many players in the league make that play. He’s a special one out there. I mean, he made a heck of a play on that ball. It definitely is frustrating that that doesn’t go off the wall and we can get something going.”
After Kendall Graveman’s six-pitch scoreless seventh, Wisdom greeted Bummer with a leadoff single to right-center, another hit that looked like extra bases. Engel quickly tracked the ball down and held Wisdom at first as the potential game-tying run.
Madrigal’s hit-and-run single to left put runners on first and third with nobody out, but Bummer retired pinch-hitter Yan Gomes on a line drive to shortstop Tim Anderson. Foster replaced Bummer and induced a foul popout from a struggling Seiya Suzuki and then caught Happ looking at a 94 mph four-seam fastball on a 2-2 pitch.
“Obviously, my first game plan coming in for Suzuki was just try to get something to keep it on the infield or obviously a strikeout would have been great,” Foster said. “We had a close play there where he popped up. Not really sure where Madrigal was at first, but thought we could have got two. Just preparing to face Happ and try to minimize the damage to none.”
“This year, he’s come out and has added two pitches to his repertoire – slider is really, really good, the curveball,” said Giolito of Foster. “He’s riding his fastball. It’s such a good feeling to see that. He took the bull by the horns and now he’s back doing what he can do.”
Hendriks, working for a third straight day, pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save. The White Sox (11-13) retained the Crosstown Cup by virtue of them winning it last year and a season series tie keeping it in the hands of the previous winner.
Building up some momentum going into a weekend series in Boston, though, was far more important than intracity bragging rights.
“We’re going to enjoy the moment right now and during the off-day,” La Russa said. “But we’re looking forward to going to Fenway.”
“Absolutely exciting,” added Foster of facing the Cubs. “Last night, the weather was kind of miserable. But you kind of push that aside and play through it.”