White Sox edge Cubs, but lose Anderson to injury
Even with all the bad news the White Sox have endured this season, things got worse Sunday.
Shortstop Tim Anderson had to be helped off the field in the fifth inning after suffering a right groin strain. Manager Tony La Russa said Anderson is headed to the injured list "for sure."
"It was devastating," third baseman Jake Burger said. "I think you saw all nine guys out there around him. He's such a leader and such an impactful person in this clubhouse that it'll be tough, but he'll always be with us."
Even while playing short-handed, the White Sox managed to eke out a 5-4 win over the Cubs in 12 innings. The Sox trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Already, the Sox are without Luis Robert, who had a positive COVID test; Eloy Jimenez, in Charlotte on a rehab assignment; and were missing third baseman Yoan Moncada with a quad strain until he pinch-hit in the ninth inning.
"There's a lot in that game to compliment how we played and how we hung in there," La Russa said. "To win it in the 12th, yeah it's meaningful. Back to .500. It's momentum for the trip, I hope."
The Sox are headed to Toronto and Tampa this week, but memories of Anderson's injury will be stronger than the excitement of Sunday's victory.
Anderson shuffled to his left to field a ground ball and threw out Cubs catcher P.J. Higgins at first base. But after the throw, Anderson collapsed onto the outfield grass. He stayed on the ground for a couple minutes and was helped to the dugout by two staff members.
Danny Mendick, who just came back from Triple A Charlotte on Saturday, filled in and eventually scored the winning run in the 12th. Anderson is currently fourth in MLB with a .356 batting average.
"This guy (Anderson) is as good as anybody in the game at that position, in all regards," La Russa said. "His influence, all the intangibles he brings in that clubhouse. We're not nearly as good without him, but we're going to have to be good enough to win. He's legitimately a great player.
"We've got a lot of guys to send out there that can help win a game. That's our attitude. We'll play with what we've got. We've got a lot."
Sunday's game started as a pitchers' duel before slipping into extra innings, where both sides struggled to get a stop.
Dylan Cease and Marcus Stroman each threw 7 scoreless innings, though Cease did allow an unearned run. The Cubs managed 2 hits against Cease, the Sox had 3 against Stroman. Cease's previous start was a 16-3 loss to Boston, so this one was a welcome change.
"I fiddled with my slider grip a little bit to get a little more depth on it," Cease said. "I threw more inside fastballs to make sure I established that. I didn't exactly do a good job of getting count leverage or throwing for strikes, but I was able to kind of use my head today."
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, but after getting the first out, Gavin Sheets gave the White Sox some hope with a double. Adam Engel followed with a checked swing bouncer that pitcher David Robertson fielded, but threw high to first base for an error. Pinch-runner A.J. Pollock then plated the tying run on a wild pitch.
The Cubs scored a quick unearned run in the 10th when Higgins put down a bunt and pitcher Reynaldo Lopez threw wild to first base. Christopher Morel added an RBI single to make it a 2-run cushion.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Sox tied it using a single by Mendick, sacrifice fly, walk and RBI single from Jose Abreu.
The White Sox appeared to win the game in the 11th after a throw to first got away, but batter Leury Garcia was ruled out for interference, the runner had to return to second base and the game continued.
Matt Foster kept the Cubs scoreless in the top of the 12th and Burger ended it with a sacrifice fly, while the Cubs played five infielders to try to hold off the runner on third.
"I was stepping in the box with my plan and then they bring in the fifth infielder," Burger said. "I made eye contact with Danny Mendick at third base and we both started laughing because I hadn't seen that in a while. I think that kind of relaxed me a little bit. I just wanted to see something up and try to get something to the outfield and sure enough it was the first pitch."
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