Johnny Cueto’s strong start and Gavin Sheets’ heroics lead the Chicago White Sox to a 3-2 win over the Oakland A’s – The Denver Post


As Gavin Sheets stepped to the plate with a man on in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago White Sox starter Johnny Cueto turned to Leury Garcia in the dugout.

“A homer here would be good for us,” Cueto said he told Garcia. “And then he hit a homer and it was good. For us, it’s more important just to get the win, and we did it.”

Sheets’s two-run homer run tied a game the Sox had trailed since the first inning, and his double leading off the ninth led to the winning run in a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Oakland A’s.

“We kept swinging,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Our offense deserved to win that game, and our pitching and defense definitely did.”

The Sox evened the series at a game apiece and will send Dylan Cease to the mound Sunday to try to get their first series win of the second half. They remained three games behind the division-leading Minnesota Twins and were one behind the second-place Cleveland Guardians.

Cueto, the most consistent Sox starter outside of Cease, threw seven strong innings, allowing solo home runs in the first and third innings. He left with the Sox trailing 2-0 before Sheet’s 400-foot blast off Austin Pruitt gave the Sox life again in the seventh.

Sheets had popped out to second with runners on second and third and no outs in the fourth, another inning in which the Sox failed to capitalize against A’s starter Paul Blackburn with men in scoring position.

“Frustrated with that but excited that I got two more chances,” Sheets said. “Mentally stayed in it and get ready for two big ones.”

After Jimmy Lambert and Liam Hendriks threw scoreless innings, Sheets started the bottom of the ninth with an opposite-field double off Zach Jackson. Adam Engel ran for Sheets and went to third on a perfect Josh Harrison sacrifice bunt.

Tim Anderson, who had a pair of hits after appealing a three-game suspension for making contact with the plate umpire Friday, came to the plate with the chance to play the hero. The remnants of the crowd of 28,142 came to life, knowing Anderson’s history for coming through in big situations.

But with a 2-1 count, Jackson threw a slider that bounced and eluded catcher Sean Murphy, allowing Engel to waltz home with the winning run.

“There was a period for about two or three weeks at home, we were behind, and we’d come back, a really spirited comeback, and the victory was right there, and we didn’t win the game,” La Russa said. “But we never got discouraged. We know where we are. We’ve got a shot.”

The Sox moved back to .500 again at 50-50 and have 62 games remaining to show what they’re made of.

Sheets admitted his season — and the team’s — have not gone as anyone expected.

“We got a taste of the postseason last year and want to get back,” he said. “Below average right now. I’ll tell you that. Anybody would tell you that. This is the fun part, the time to make some moves. This was a huge game tonight to get a big win.”

The only downside afterward was Anderson’s reaction when the media waited to talk to him.

“If you want to talk about the suspension, I ain’t talking,” he snapped, adding he wouldn’t talk about the game either.

Anderson, whom the Sox have marked as the face of baseball, is not doing himself any favors by refusing to give his side of the story. La Russa defended Anderson before the game, claiming incorrectly that the umpire, Nick Mahrley, was “moving forward” toward Anderson when the shortstop was getting in his face after his ejection. Anderson then made contact with his batting helmet, which led to the suspension.

Being a repeat offender was part of the reason Anderson received three games in addition to a fine.



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