Right-handers, left-handers or Cy Young candidates, it hasn’t mattered much who Trayce Thompson is facing. The White Sox rookie outfielder continues to make a good impression.
Oh, Thompson has had forgettable moments. Tough right-hander Chris Archer made him look silly on a strikeout his first time up in the major leagues Aug. 4, and Thompson misplayed a single to right field into two game-changing runs in a loss to the Twins last week. He made a big effort diving for a ball, fell awkwardly and hyperextended his left elbow in the ninth inning of the White Sox’ 8-7 win in 14 innings against the Oakland A’s Monday night.
Melky Cabrera singled in Geovany Soto with two outs in the ninth against Arnold Leon to push the winning run across at 12:19 a.m. Tuesday, finishing a five hour, nine minute game before a paid crowd of 12,221, about 10 percent of which was there at the finish.
Thompson continues to impress. He’s hitting .377 with five doubles, a triple and 13 RBI, and he hit his fourth homer against Cy candidate Sonny Gray, a right-hander who also served up Jose Abreu’s 28th homer in the same fourth inning in what turned into the worst start of his career.
“We were just trying to be aggressive,” Thompson said. “He’s one of the best in the league for a reason and you’ve got to get him early because he can put guys away pretty good. We’re just trying to be aggressive and he left some pitches up.”
Gray was knocked out during the fourth after allowing seven runs on eight hits and four walks.
Thompson was knocked out of the game after he made an unsuccessful diving attempt to catch Brett Lawrie’s fly ball in short right field, attempting to retire the first A’s batter in the ninth inning and to preserve closer David Robertson’s string of 26 consecutive retired batters. He is day to day.
“I usually make that play, so that sucked,” Thompson said. “And to see how the rest of the inning kind of unfolded was unfortunate but you know, that’s baseball. Anything can happen. Luckily these guys stuck it out and got the win. That was awesome. To lose that lead and then to come back and still stay positive and get the win, it’s huge.”
And it was good for manager Robin Ventura to see that Thompson wasn’t hurt more seriously.
“It looked a lot worse when he went down the way he was holding his arm, but hopefully he’ll be fine in the next couple of days,” Ventura said.
“It feels fine. It’s stiff, but I’ve had stuff like that happen to me before all over my body so we’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Thompson said. “I feel OK, though.”
“I’ve seen those injuries happen before, especially when I was a kid playing football. I wasn’t too excited to kind of check it out once I stood up for a second. It could have been a lot worse. I’m pretty lucky.”
Lawrie’s leadoff double started a whacky and disastrous four-run, game-tying A’s inning against Robertson that also included a wild pitch on a strikeout, a catcher’s interference call on Tyler Flowers that erased a potential inning-ending double-play grounder and a passed ball on Flowers that scored the tying run. In between, Sam Fuld’s two-run single with two outs pulled the A’s to within one. Robertson had three strikeouts in the inning.
“Just a bizarre ninth inning,” Ventura said. “The ball falls in, you get the catcher’s interference, just the cross-up, just a bizarre ninth inning. But the 14th is always our best inning. Bullpen-wise, [we] did great. They were able to keep it going until we finally scored. But you’re more than disappointed with how the ninth went.”
John Danks gave up three homers but those were the only hits the Sox lefty allowed in seven innings. Jake Smolinski, Brett Lawrie and Josh Reddick each got Danks, who left with a 7-3 lead and turned it over to right-hander Matt Albers. Albers has been unscored on in 14 consecutive appearances, a career high.
Nate Jones, Zach Duke, Jake Petricka and Dan Jennings (2-3) combined on four scoreless extra innings.
NOTES: David Robertson is the White Sox nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. Robertson and wife Erin co-founded High Socks for Hope in 2011 after his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was devastated by a tornado.
*Carlos Rodon’s next start is Saturday in Cleveland, giving the rookie left-hander 10 days off, his fourth rest of eight days or more. Rodon has pitched 125 2/3 innings. Chris Sale is lined for Friday in Cleveland on four days rest following a three-inning outing Sunday against the Twins.
*Avisail Garcia (back) was back in the lineup, as the designated hitter, after missing Sunday’s game. Designated hitter Adam LaRoche is dealing with a sore knee.