The Chicago White Sox are barreling their way toward playoff season in the No. 1 AL Central spot, but if they thought that the Halos were going to help their winning record with an easy victory on Wednesday, they were sorely mistaken. The Angels snapped their two-game losing streak after center fielder Brandon Marsh saved the game with a solo HR, earning the team a 3-2 win against an impressive lineup of Chicago power hitters.
No. 22 prospect Janson Junk (2.25 ERA) opened the night with all of the potential that fans missed during his first major league debut on September 5 when he gave up five runs on six hits and walked away with 2 strikeouts against the Texas Rangers. Thankfully, his performance tonight was a different story.
Junk kept the Sox scoreless for three innings, giving the Halos the perfect opportunity to wake up the offense against White Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel (5.23 ERA). Luis Rengifo, who has been growing more and more comfortable at shortstop since being pulled up from Salt-Lake, kicked the Halos lineup into high gear in the third inning with a single, and Keuchel helped out the lineup with a walk for David Fletcher.
The theme of the third inning was “all speed, no brakes” as Phil “the Goose” Gosselin barreled down the first baseline after hitting an infield grounder to third baseman, Yoán Moncada, whose defensive play was two seconds two late for the speedy left fielder. Gosselin’s hit earned him his 40th RBI of the season as he pushed Fletch to third and brought Rengifo home to secure the Angels a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Halos, Moncada came back to tie the game in the bottom of the 4th, hitting a solo HR off of Junk who then retired from the mound with 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER and 2 SO.
The game remained at a standstill until the 6th inning when both teams made it clear that this was going to be a close call victory.
Brandon Marsh, who went 1-for-4 last night, bounced back today with a single in the 6th that encouraged the team to start swinging. Juan Lagares followed suit with another single, and Rengifo stepped in with a sacrifice fly that scored Marsh and brought the game back to a 2-1 lead. However, the White Sox lineup was not ready to give in as Jimmy Herget (4.50 ERA) took over the mound, giving up a double to White Sox first baseman José Abreu and a single to catcher Yasmani Grandal. Abreu scored, leaving the scoreboard at 2-2 with extra innings starting to look inevitable.
That was until the hero of tonight’s game, Marsh, came alive with a powerful swing in the top of 8th as he blasted a 101 mph fastball into the stands, securing the Halos a 3-2 score that would carry through the rest of the game as the bullpen dug their heels in with strong control and much-needed shutouts.
Steve Cishek (3.03 ERA), a reliever that normally struggles with runners on base, took to the hill in the 8th inning with a calmness that allowed him to keep the Halos lead and strand two runners on base. He retired the game in the 9th to power closer Raisel Iglesias (2.67 ERA) who did what he does best — shut down the game with no runs allowed.
The Angels record now sits at 71-74. With Jo Adell recently placed on the IL with a left abdominal strain, fans can expect the lineup to continue to move as the team looks to get hot and prepare for next season.
Tomorrow, your Halos will take the field behind Alex Cobb, who will make his first appearance on the mound since July 23rd after being placed on the IL with a wrist injury. If the Halos can get the lineup moving tomorrow with some speed, swings and smart plays, they’ll have a chance to leave Chicago with two wins over the White Sox. First pitch is set for an early start at 11:10 AM.