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Rays 5, White Sox 6: The comeback fell short

The Tampa Bay Rays season lose the season series to the Chicago White Sox for the first time since 2018

Chicago White Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough is supposed to be the king of weak contact. Either someone forgot to tell the Chicago White Sox or the southsiders refused to bend the proverbial knee.

The Rays came into the game prepared to try to win the rubber match of the series and split the season series with the White Sox. The plan quickly came apart.

Mound visits in the first inning are not what you ever want to see. That’s what happens when bases are loaded with one out after 23 pitches.

The White Sox came out swinging in the first inning starting with a leadoff single from Danny Mendick followed by a ground-rule double by Andrew Vaughn. Two at-bats later and a walk to Jose Abreau prompted the mound visit previously mentioned. There’s still room for hope as you’re only a double play away from a clean inning.

Unfortunately, instead of a double play it was a two-run ground-rule double to Jake Burger. Yasmandi Grandal added two more runs with a bloop RBI-single in the next at-bat and it was a 4-0 lead early enough to allow conflicted Tampa Bay sports fans to get ready to watch playoff hockey. Mercifully, that was the extent of the first inning scoring.

Yarbs struggles continued in the second inning. Josh Harrison led off with a line-drive double and advanced to third on a throwing error from Manuel Margot. Another Vaughn double scored Harrison to extend the lead to five runs. A RBI-single added what would be the final run for the White Sox and give a 6-0 lead with out in the second. Yarbs would give up another double to Burger and walk Grandal before being relieved of his pitching duties.

Shoutout to Shawn Armstrong for inheriting bases loaded in a dumpster fire of a game and striking out AJ Pollock to end the inning and provide some stability with a 1.1 IP, 2 K, 0 R, 0 ER performance.

The Rays offense did not make life as difficult for White Sox starter Lucas Giolito in the early innings. After getting retired in order in the first inning there were some signs of life in the second. Harold Ramirez hit a double and was followed by a Randy Arozarena walk to put two runners on with one out. Then Isaac Paredes grounded into a 3-6 double play and the Rays challenged the tag and the ruling on the field stood.

It ultimately doesn’t matter in the scheme of the game but how on earth does this replay get to end with the call standing? The high definition video and ability to freeze frame should have resulted in a more definitive confirmed or overturned. Also, is there a player with more challenged base-running calls than Randy Arozarena?

Depending on your viewpoint, we were probably spared or deprived from a Brett Phillips pitching appearance because of one man, Ralph Garza Jr. In order to make the comeback possible, you had to fully stop the White Sox for multiple innings and he came through with 3.2 IP, allowing seven hits and striking out two.

Speaking of the almost successful comeback, it started in the bottom of the fifth. Isaac Paredes was leading off and hit a solo home run (103.0 EV, 33 LA 410 ft) off Giolito to trim the White Sox lead to 6-1. Taylor Walls and Kevin Kiermaier both added singles for laughs and giggles as Margot grounding into a double play closed out the inning.

Yandy Diaz ledoff with a single to start the bottom of the sixth and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ji-Man Choi reached first base on a catching error that also moved Diaz to third. You have to feel comfortable with runners on the corners with no outs and Harold Ramirez coming to the plate and he delivered with a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Diaz. Randy Arozarena followed with a triple to right field to bring Choi home to score a run. Two batters later Mike Zunino hit a line drive home run (EV 112.4, LA 21, 364 ft) just over the left field wall and just like that the White Sox lead is only 6-5.

Kendall Graveman pitched the bottom of the eighth inning for the White Sox and struck out the Rays in order to keep the comeback hopes stalled to the ninth inning.

The Rays reinstated Andrew Kittredge from 15-day IL before the game and he was on the mound in the ninth inning. Another ray of hope from this game was his performance retiring Grandal, Pollock, and Reese McGuire in order.

The bottom of the ninth saw Liam Hendriks retire the Rays in order and seal the 6-5 victory for the White Sox.

Jeffrey Springs (2-2, 1.88) will take the mound for the Rays on Tuesday as they face the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:10pm ET.