Gavin Sheets stepped up to the plate with a man in the bottom of the seventh inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night, as Chicago White Sox starter Johnny Couto turned to Leuri Garcia in the dugout.
“A homer here would be good for us,” Cuoto said as he told Garcia. “And then he hit a homer and it was good. It’s more important for us to just win and we did it.”
The Sheets’ two-run homer had overtaken the Sox since the first inning, and their double lead from the ninth secured the win in a 3–2 walk-off victory over the Oakland A.
“We kept swinging,” said manager Tony La Russa. “Our offense deserved to win that game, and our pitching and defense certainly did.”
The Sox leveled the series in a game each and would send Dylan Cease to the mound on Sunday to try to secure his first series win of the second half. They finished three games behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins and were one of the second-placed Cleveland Guardians.
Cueto, the most consistent Sox starter out of the season, bowled seven strong innings, making singles home runs in the first and third innings. He trailed 2–0 with the Sox, before the Sox were revived in the seventh by a 400-foot blast of the sheet on Austin Pruitt.
The Sheets had moved into second place with runners in second and third and no dismissals in fourth, another innings which failed to capitalize with the men in the scoring position against Sox A starter Paul Blackburn.
“Disappointed but excited that I get two more chances,” Sheets said. “Mentally stay in it and get ready for the big two.”
Jimmy Lambert and Liam Hendrix played no-scoring innings, with Sheets starting the bottom of the ninth with a double in opposite field to Zach Jackson. Adam Engel ran for the sheets and went for third on a perfect Josh Harrison sacrificial bunt.
Tim Anderson, who was followed by a couple of hits Appeal for suspension of three matches On Friday approached the plate umpire to come to the plate with a chance to play the hero. Knowing Andersen’s history for coming to the big stage, the remains of the crowd of 28,142 came to life.
But with a 2-1 count, Jackson bowled a slider that bounced and escaped from catcher Sean Murphy, allowing Engel to run home with the winning run.
“There was a period of about two or three weeks at home, we were behind, and we would come back, a really enthusiastic comeback, and the win was there, and we didn’t win the game,” La Russa said. “But we’ve never been disappointed. We know where we are. We have a shot.”
The Sox went 50-50 again at .500 with 62 games left to show what they’re made of.
The Sheets admitted their season – and the team – didn’t go as anyone expected.
“We got a taste of the postseason last year and we want to come back,” he said. “Below average right now. I’ll tell you that. Somebody will tell you this. Here’s the fun part, it’s time to make some moves. It was a huge game to get the big win tonight.”
The only downside was Anderson’s reaction afterward while the media waited to speak to him.
“If you want to talk about suspension, I’m not talking,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t even talk about the game.
Anderson, who has been labeled by the Sox as the face of baseball, isn’t doing himself any favors by refusing to give his side of the story. La Russa defended Anderson before the game, incorrectly claiming that the umpire, Nick Maherley, was “moving” towards Anderson when the shortstop was coming into his face after his ejection. Anderson then contacted his batting helmet, which led to a suspension.
Anderson received three games in addition to a fine for being a repeat offender.