Up 2 runs in the 8th, White Sox falter late in a loss to the Pirates

White Sox

PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 08: Jason Martin #51 of the Pittsburgh Pirates scores on a fielder’s choice in the ninth inning against Yasmani Grandal #24 of the Chicago White Sox at PNC Park on September 8, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH – Games like this were much more common the previous few years when the White Sox were building themselves into a contender.

Now that they are starting down a spot in the 2020 playoffs, what has been a rare sight so far in this shortened season creeped back against on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

In a game filled with a few baserunning blunders, the White Sox were still in a position to win against the Pirates with a two-run lead in the eighth inning. But Pittsburgh struck for two in that frame and got the game-winner in the ninth on a badly executed force out in a 5-4 win.

It abruptly ends the White Sox four-game winning streak and keeps them in a tie for first in the AL Central with the Indians, who also lost on Tuesday. They’re still a half-game ahead of the Twins, who split a doubleheader with the Cardinals.

Yet Rick Renteria’s not worried so much about that, but rather his team’s uncharacteristic play at times during the contest. Rookie Nick Madrigal was twice thrown out on the basepaths, which stood out to observers of the game, and the late-inning collapse was difficult for the manager to watch.

After Eloy Jimenez gave the White Sox a two-run RBI in the top of the inning, Pittsburgh got two-straight doubles off Evan Marshall from Kevin Newman and Jacob Stallings to bring home a run. After a groundout, Erik Gonzalez tied the game with an RBI single.

In the ninth, Ross Detwiler gave up back-to-back hits to start the inning and was quickly replaced by Jimmy Cordero. He then threw a wild pitch to Ke’Bryan Hayes before eventually walking him, bringing Newman to the plate.

Then came a bizarre ending, where Newman taps the pitch toward the mound to Cordero. The pitcher is able to field it, but his throw to the plate for the force out was low and Yasmani Grandal couldn’t handle it. It dribbled away and allowed the game-winning run to score and take away what looked like it would be a White Sox win most of the night.

Yoan Moncada’s RBI single and Yasmani Grandal’s two-run homer in the fifth put the White Sox up 3-0, and Dylan Cease only gave up two back in five innings. Yet all of it was for not on a night that looked more like the White Sox of the more recent past.

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