If you wanted to tell the story of the April 2023 Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox in one game, tonight was that game. The story would be a team full of confidence and resilience facing a team that is becoming the epitome of futility, desperate for hope that today will be the day things get better.
The Rays defeated the White Sox 12-3, but the score does not begin to tell the story. This game was all about Lance Lynn until Lynn got lanced. Lynn pitched six scoreless no-hit innings, which historically is a comfortable place to be against the Rays. Still, the present is not the past, as proven by the improbable comeback win starting with a massive seventh inning.
Here is how it all went down.
In the first inning, the Tampa Bay Rays struggled to get anything going against White Sox starter Lance Lynn. Brandon Lowe struck out swinging to leadoff. Wander Franco followed with a walk that would be the Rays only baserunner through the sixth inning. The inning ended with Randy Arozarena and Josh Lowe both striking out. The good news is they got Lynn to earn the three outs by elevating his pitch count early.
#Rays got only a Franco walk in 1st inning, but forced #WhiteSox Lynn to work hard, throwing 26 pitches (only 1 of which was a change-up, the rest some version of a fastball)— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 29, 2023
The Chicago White Sox didn’t fare much better in the bottom of the inning as Luis Robert Jr. grounded out softly and showed no sign of hustle that had to leave every youth coach watching the game screaming at their television. Andrew Vaughn flew out to left Randy before Gavin Sheets popped out to third to end the inning.
Luis Robert Jr. just gave your high school baseball coach an aneurysm pic.twitter.com/AjS9dyuGnb— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) April 29, 2023
If Rays fans needed any additional reasons to feel uneasy with Calvin Faucher on the mound, the bottom of the second inning provided plenty. The White Sox wasted no time to capitalize on two walks and a throwing error by Faucher on a ball thrown over Isaac Paredes’ head, allowing Yasmani Grandal to reach first base safely. With the bases loaded, Elvis Andrus hit an RBI single allowing Eloy Jimenez and Jake Burger to score. Faucher was then replaced by Yonny Chirinos, who ended the inning without allowing his two inherited runners to score. Chirinos came into the game with 18.0 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to 8/16/20. White Sox lead 2-0.
Grandal coming with the wheels pic.twitter.com/c1M7Cz1vIs— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) April 30, 2023
In the third through sixth inning, both teams' pitchers retired the other’s batters in order, with the lone hit coming from a Gavin Sheets single in the top of the third that was erased by Jimenez grounding into a double play. If you take away the opening performance of Faucher, this was an amazing pitching duel between Lynn and Chirinos.
The top of the sixth inning started to feel like it would be Lynn’s night as the Rays missed opportunities to get their first hit. With one out, Jose Siri hit a line drive straight to Lynn’s glove. In the next at-bat, Brandon Lowe had a well-hit ball (EV 97.6 mph, LA 37 deg, 358 ft) caught just shy of the wall two days after hitting a 358 ft homer to right field.
In the bottom of the sixth the White Sox extended their lead to 3-0 on a Jimenez RBI double, scoring Vaughn and ending Chirinos’ scoreless inning streak.
Kevin Cash gets a lot of heat from Rays fans and others around baseball for pulling pitchers that have a shot at a no-hitter as they approach the third time through an opponent’s order.
Tonight the White Sox messed around and sent Lynn back to the mound in the seventh inning and found out why that is not always a good idea.
Lynn no-hit the Rays through six innings only allowing the first-inning walk to Franco before giving up a leadoff home run to Franco (EV 100.3 mph, LA 25 deg, 364 ft) to end the no-hitter and the shutout and trim the White Sox lead to 3-1.
Wander Franco breaks up Lance Lynn’s no-hitter with a solo shot pic.twitter.com/h7YAk1Qrs9— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 30, 2023
The Rays were just getting started with Franco’s homer as they would add nine more runs off eight more hits. After an Arozarena strikeout, Josh Lowe hit a single to bring the tying run to the plate. Isaac Paredes hit a double that brought Lowe home as the ball got past Gavin Sheets in left field, and the throw to the plate was not caught to trim it to a 3-2 White Sox lead.
play at the plate, and the Rays score another run‼️— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 30, 2023
→ https://t.co/4DzzcM8uHL@RaysBaseball | #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/C72NhY8Fbu
Taylor Walls then walked and ended Lynn’s night in a way that has to be tough emotionally and mentally. I cannot imagine going from being nine outs away from a no-hitter to being on the hook for the game-winning run in five batters, yet there we were. Aaron Bummer entered the game in relief of Lynn, and Manuel Margot kept things going with a pinch-hit RBI single, tying the game 3-3.
Margot and Walls executed the double steal to get into scoring position. The momentum temporarily slowed as Francisco Mejia hit into a fielder’s choice on a 3-0 count, resulting in Walls getting tagged out at home. However, Jose Siri hit a double, scoring Margot and putting the Rays up 4-3. Yandy Diaz was next pinch-hitting for Brandon Lowe. His sore shoulder was no issue as walked in six pitches without swinging the bat ending Bummer’s night.
Still, in the top of the seventh, Franco followed up his no-hit-busting homer with a two-run single off Jimmy Lambert, bringing the score to 6-3. Arozarena then hit a three-run homer (EV 111.8 mph, LA 26 deg, 433 ft), scoring Diaz and Franco, and the Rays extended their lead to 9-3. Josh Lowe immediately followed by hitting a solo home run (EV 101.8 mph, LA 33 deg, 382 ft), making it 10-3. Paredes hit a single to left field, but the inning came to a close on a Walls strikeout.
The Rays entered the 7th inning without a hit.— MLB (@MLB) April 30, 2023
They finished the frame with a 10-spot. pic.twitter.com/z4jBDf22E1
A tale of two cities.
and i oop... pic.twitter.com/AP3aS05RWF— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 30, 2023
I do not know what the White Sox were supposed to do after such a deflating half-inning like that. What they ultimately did was start with a leadoff walk by Adam Haseley, facing Garrett Cleavinger for the Rays. That was as good as it got as Andrus and Gonzalez struck out before Oscar Colas grounded out to second base to end the seventh with the Rays leading 10-3.
Francisco Mejia added a solo homer, his first of the season, in the eighth inning off Kenyan Middleton to extend the Rays lead to 11-3.
Francisco Mejia - Tampa Bay Rays (1) pic.twitter.com/MTGUuSswJF— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) April 30, 2023
To add some icing to the cake Arozarena hit another homer for the Rays in the top of the ninth to give us the final score of 12-3.
¡¡¡RANDY LO VOLVIÓ A HACER!!! pic.twitter.com/AvNrXpj2cV— MLB Cuba (@mlbcuba) April 30, 2023
What a waste of six innings of phenomenal pitching by the White Sox and what a comeback by the Rays. I want to say the Rays comeback was improbable and did to open this recap, but this team has been playing amazing baseball all season with no deficit seeming insurmountable. Chirinos looked great, and the offense clicked late, showing that this team is the best in baseball, with 23 wins before the end of April.
These two teams are back at it again tomorrow at 2:10 pm ET as the Rays attempt to clinch their first season series sweep over the White Sox in franchise history. Drew Rasmussen (3-2, 3.33) will start for the Rays, opposite Mike Clevinger (2-2, 4.81) for the White Sox.