The Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds are meeting for the first time in three years Adidas Jonathan Quick Jersey , so understandably they don’t know much about each other.
But the White Sox already know this: Don’t be confused by the Reds’ place in the standings. They’re not playing like a last-place team in the NL Central, even when they’re down late in a game.
And the White Sox pitchers will be told this constantly before the second game of the three-game series Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park: Anthony DeScalfani is a pitcher — and thus wouldn’t even take a swing in the American League — but is very dangerous with a bat in his hand in an NL ballpark.
But it took the Reds only one game to learn this: You must pitch to White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia very, very carefully.
The Reds overcame a Garcia homer and a two-run deficit to beat the White Sox 5-3 Monday night in the series opener — the byproduct of an unusual four-run rally in the eighth inning keyed by a bases-loaded grounder to first base in which the White Sox tried to get two outs and ended up with none.
Pinch-hitter Alex Blandino’s two-run double to right field off Chris Volstad broke a 3-all tie with two out in the eighth gave the Reds their third straight victory — 12th in 15 games and 15th in 20 games. They also dealt the White Sox their fourth loss in five games and 13th in 18 games.
“He was living on the outside corner, nibbling out there and didn’t want to give me anything to hit, but I was able to put a good swing on it,” said Blandino, who was 3-for-21 (.143) coming into that at-bat. “This is a game of opportunities, when things don’t go as well as you hoped, you’ve got to keep fighting. And tonight is a step in the right direction.
“It’s been awesome … it’s somebody different every night, and we’re loving it right now.”
The Reds still trail first-place Milwaukee by double digits in the division, but they’re creeping closer to fourth place Pittsburgh after being in last since the day the season started. And they now have a winning record under interim manager Jim Riggleman (34-33), who took over for Bryan Price when the Reds were 3-15.
“We had some really good at-bats … and (after the play at first) the opportunity was there for us to win it,” Riggleman said. “There was a lot of good baseball tonight.”
On Tuesday, White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (5-7) will oppose Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (3-1) in a matchup of pitchers who have never faced the other team. Giolito is 2-3 with a 6.81 ERA in his last seven starts Evander Kane Sharks Jersey , while DeSclafani has won his last three decisions.
Giolito is coming off perhaps his best start, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning before leaving after giving up one run in 6 1/3 innings Thursday in what became a 2-1, 13-inning White Sox loss to the Minnesota Twins.
“I’m starting to throw the ball a lot better, I feel like it’s coming better out of my hand,” Giolito told reporters after the game. “Just take some good lessons from (this). In the seventh inning, I kind of let some pitches get away from me there. I wasn’t executing like I was earlier in the game. (I’ll) learn from that.”
DeSclafani is a pleasant surprise to the Reds after missing all of last season and the first two months of this season with multiple injuries. Not only is he pitching well, he hit a grand slam, one of the Reds’ club record-tying nine this season, during a June 23 start against the Chicago Cubs. The Reds have six grand slams in their last 17 games.
The Reds started off Monday night with a Scott Schebler leadoff homer in the first, then did very little offensively until White Sox starter James Shields was lifted with two out in the seventh.
In the eighth, the Reds had the bases loaded with one out when Adam Duvall hit a grounder to first baseman Matt Davidson, who attempted to touch the base for the force out before throwing home to try to get Scooter Gennett at the plate. But Gennett slid in safely, and Duvall was ruled safe at first because Davidson threw home before stepping on the bag. That set up Duvall’s opposite-field game-winning hit.
Reds right-hander Luis Castillo held the White Sox to a run over 6 2/3 innings, and the Reds withstood Garcia’s fifth homer Adidas Eric Staal Jersey , a solo shot in the eighth off Jared Hughes. Garcia is 19-for-52 (.365) during a 12-game hitting streak. He also has six hits in his last two games and is 11-for-24 with two doubles, two triples and two home runs in his last five games.
The better J.A. Happ pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays, the better the chance he finishes the season with another team.
Happ pitched a season-high 8 1/3 innings to win his fifth straight decision, Kendrys Morales hit a two-run home run and the Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 Wednesday for Toronto’s seventh win in eight home games.
Happ (9-3) allowed four runs and six hits, walked none and struck out eight. The veteran left-hander is the first big league pitcher to record four starts this season with at least eight strikeouts and no walks.
”He’s got good life on his fastball,” Atlanta’s Nick Markakis said. ”He’s always been a thorn in the side.”
With Toronto well behind in both the AL East and the wild card standings, Happ could be a candidate for a midseason trade to a contender.
”I know he’s in demand and I can see why,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ”If we were on the other end of it, I’d want him, too.”
Happ is in the final season of a three-year, $36 million contract.
”I signed to play here and try to help this team get to the playoffs,” Happ said. ”I know there may be rumors out there, but I like it here and my focus is here.”
Happ improved 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves.
”We knew going in it was going to be a tough ride,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.
Happ had retired 18 of 19 before Freddie Freeman and Markakis hit back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth.
Ryan Tepera came on and gave up an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki Adidas Shea Weber Jersey , struck out Charlie Culberson, then allowed an RBI single to Ender Inciarte, putting the tying run at second. Tepera finished it by getting Johan Camargo to fly out, earning his fifth save in eight opportunities
Morales, who turned 35 Wednesday, went 2 for 3 and scored twice. He homered in the first, walked and scored in the fourth, singled in the fifth, and flied out in the eighth.
Suzuki and Peter Bourjos hit solo home runs for the Braves, who lost for the second time in eight games. Atlanta began the day with an NL-best record of 43-29.
Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-1) allowed four runs and five hits in five innings.
”It wasn’t bad, wasn’t great,” Snitker said. ”He kept us in the game, gave us a chance.”
Sanchez is 0-2 with a 9.19 ERA in his past three starts against the Blue Jays.
After Morales hit a two-out drive off Sanchez, his sixth homer of the season Adidas Carey Price Jersey , Suzuki connected in the second, his eighth, and Bourjos tied it in the third with his first homer of the season.
Toronto broke the deadlock in the fourth when Randal Grichuk hit an RBI double and Aledmys Diaz followed with a sacrifice fly.
Blue Jays infielder Yangervis Solarte made it 5-2 with a two-out RBI single off A.J. Minter in the seventh.
WALK THIS WAY
Blue Jays C Russell Martin has walked at least once in eight straight games, matching a career-long stretch. Martin, who walked twice Wednesday, also walked in eight straight in 2013.
Morales has four home runs and eight RBIs in eight career games on his birthday.
THRIVING WITH FIVE
Toronto is 28-1 when scoring five or more runs.
Braves: Markakis started at designated hitter, the first time this season he hasn’t played one of the corner outfield spots.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will be activated off the disabled list to start at the Angels on Saturday, Gibbons said. Stroman is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in seven starts. … 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf) left the team Wednesday and will continue working out at Toronto’s spring training facility in Florida. Donaldson will not begin a rehab assignment until he is able to run the bases at full speed.
Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a three-game home series against Baltimore on Friday. LHP Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70 ERA) starts for the Braves. Newcomb has won eight of his past nine decisions. The Orioles have not named a starter.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.35) starts the opener of a four-game series against the Angels. Sanchez is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three June starts. LHP Tyler Skaggs (6-4, 2.81) starts for Los Angeles.