CHICAGO — The White Sox reaction following their 2-1 victory over the Tigers in 10 innings on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field was toned down compared to past walk-off celebrations.
The joy was slightly reduced directly because of the way the game ended. With the bases loaded, two outs and Tim Anderson at the plate, José Cisnero uncorked a 96.4 mph four-seamer well over catcher Eric Haase’s glove and unfortunately straight into the facemask of home-plate umpire Cory Blaser.
As Haase searched for the baseball and the players also worried about Blaser, Yoán Moncada raced home from third with the game-winning run. Blaser’s condition was still on the minds of White Sox players and manager Pedro Grifol postgame as they took in a second consecutive win.
“Pick up the umpire but score the run and get the win?” said Anderson, who was the first to help Blaser to his feet. “Try to take care of everything, I guess. Just happy we got the win.”
“It’s a weird scenario,” said reliever Liam Hendriks, whose scoreless seventh marked his second appearance after battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “My first instinct is to look to see he’s all right before anything else. I guess that’s the way I’m wired. As long as he’s all right. Hopefully, the pitcher is OK as well because that can be quite daunting as a pitcher in that situation.”
Romy Gonzalez bunted Moncada to third to start the 10th, but Yasmani Grandal’s groundout to second after an 11-pitch at-bat held Moncada at bay. The Tigers intentionally walked Gavin Sheets and Cisnero hit Jake Burger with a pitch on his right wrist to load the bases, after Blaser’s original call of a foul ball was overturned by a White Sox challenge.
Cisnero’s final pitch crossed up Haase, who was set up low on the outside corner. The baseball rolled to Haase’s right after hitting Blaser.
“I was trying to go slider. Cis said he heard sinker,” Haase said. “Obviously pretty close, but an unfortunate spot to be in. Hope Cory’s OK.”
“It was a bam-bam play,” Moncada said through interpreter Billy Russo. “I just reacted and was able to score.”
Major League Baseball issued a statement that Blaser was under evaluation. It will share updates as they become available.
To make this game a bit more peculiar, all three runs scored via wild pitch. Per Elias, it was the first time a game in the Live Ball Era featured three or more runs that all scored via wild pitch and/or passed ball.
The White Sox scored their first run on Andrew Benintendi’s single and stolen base in the fourth, followed by Detroit starter Michael Lorenzen’s first two wild pitches of the season.
“Three runs, three wild pitches. Sometimes, those things happen. You can’t really explain,” Moncada said. “Everything they want to give us, we have to take it.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before, just to answer that question before it’s asked,” Grifol said. “It’s a Major League win, and our guys did a really good job.”
Hendriks’ perfect frame was his first appearance since an emotional and triumphant return on Monday against the Angels. He retired Haase on a popup to second baseman Elvis Andrus, Nick Maton on a fly ball to center fielder Luis Robert Jr. and struck out Zack Short looking. Hendriks kept the baseball on that strikeout as another memento after hitting 96.8 mph with his fastball during that at-bat.
“Velocity felt as if it was coming out good,” Hendriks said. “It’s all progressing. It’s moving forward. Also, that’s a few more days off than I’m used to as well. I mean from Monday to Saturday, so … It’s getting back out there and getting my legs under me.”
“I always expect him to have good innings, so I’m not shocked,” said White Sox starter Dylan Cease, who allowed one run on two hits over 5 1/3 innings. “He’s continuing to work himself back into what he’s capable of doing.”
After improving to 15-15 at home and 25-35 overall, the White Sox hope to work their way back into American League Central contention regardless of how the wins come.
“Definitely a good win today,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, we can continue to ride the momentum. Continue to try to keep playing good baseball.”