Cubs Beat White Sox, Sweep Season Series
The best-laid plans of Cubs and White Sox players, coaches and management often go astray.
Not to mention the tentative schedules affecting the fans of the two teams.
Monday night’s makeup of the rained-out May 28th game at U.S. Cellular Field was anticipated under threatening skies again and finally got started following a 29-minute rain delay.
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the second inning after Alfonso Soriano doubled into the leftfield corner and stole third. Dioner Navarro drew a walk to put runners on the corners before Luis Valbuena- a late substitution for Welington Castillo as the designated hitter- tallied Soriano with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Sox tied the game 1-1 in the third inning when catcher Josh Phegley hit a towering home run to center. It was his second homer of the season.Phegley was recalled from Triple A Charlotte last Friday. He hit his first major league homer Sunday in Tampa.
Soriano gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning when he hit his 13th homer of the year. It was the 385th homer of his career, tying him with Dwight Evans for 58th on the all-time list.
The Sox scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game 2-2. Gordon Beckham reached on an infield hit and advanced to second when Darwin Barney’s throw to first was wild. It was Barney’s second error in as many games after going 71 straight games without a miscue.
Alex Rios singled to put runners on the cormers before he and Beckham pulled off a double steal. Navarro’s throw to second was low as Rios advanced and Beckham stole home to make it 2-2.
Valbuena put the Cubs ahead 4-2 in the eighth with a two-run double off Matt Thornton. He knocked in Soriano and Navarro.
Sveum appreciates the versatility and clutch performances of Valbuena.
“On a whole from this year to last year, he has been so consistent, even though you’re not seeing the .300 batting average. The on-base percentage and the walks seem to always be there on a consistent basis,” Sveum said. “And the defense he has been playing has been as good as anybody in the game at third base over the last two years.”
Dave Sappelt made it 5-2 with an RBI single off reliever Nate Jones to tally Valbuena.
And Cody Ransom had a bases-loaded base hit to score a pair of runs and chase Nate Jones with the score 7-2.
To be sure, you can’t tell all of the players without a scorecard because of the transient nature of the business of baseball when teams are out of the playoff race before the end of July.
“It’s always exciting playing the Crosstown rivalry,” Scott Hairston said Sunday after hitting a clutch pinch-hit home run at Wrigley Field against the Pirates. “I grew up watching it, so it’s really exciting as a player to play in that series.”
Shortly after Hairston uttered those words, he was traded to the Nationals for a minor league prospect and he would have to postpone those nostalgic memories of playing on the South Side where his grandfather- Sam Hairston — and father — Jerry Hairston- spent many years with the White Sox.
Sox manager Robin Ventura knows what it’s like to play through trade rumors.
“It’s tough. I’ve been there as a player and it’s not easy,” Ventura said. “There’s worse things that could be going on. You wear it when you’re here, you wear it when you go home. It’s always on your mind. That’s the toughest part. For coaches all the way down to players, even if a guy’s doing well, he’s still wearing it. That’s the toughest part. You just try to monitor it and make sure they realize there are worse things going than coming to the park and being a major-league baseball player.”