In the end, everyone went home happy.
Early on, the White Sox’ 10-8 victory over the Mariners had all the makings of a fine home-opener experience. A gift-wrapped three-run first featuring another in a series of special Yoan Moncada moments was followed by a three-run second.
When the Mariners roared back to erase a five-run deficit and take the lead, it had all the makings of a deflating setback. But Moncada, the Sox’ man of the hour and of this young season to date, would not be denied.
Coming through with the bases loaded a second time, Moncada singled sharply to center to score the tying and go-ahead runs in a three-run seventh, and Tim Anderson added a homer in the eighth as the Sox held on for a 10-8 victory before 32,723 fans at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“Just to be part of a game like today with the crowd and all the guys fighting, it was good,” Moncada said through translator Billy Russo. “For me especially because I was part of what happened in the game. I was able to contribute, and it’s very special for me. Days like today are going to come in bunches this season.”
With right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, the Sox’ best starter in 2018, on the mound, the table was set for a less dramatic win over the red-hot Mariners (7-2). But Lopez didn’t have it for the second time in as many outings, the Mariners didn’t lay down, and the Sox needed clean relief work from Ryan Burr (1-0), Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome (second save) to preserve a win that evened their record to 3-3.
Lopez served up home runs to Domingo Santana, Daniel Vogelbach and Ron Healy — Healy’’s tying the game at 6 on Lopez’ 93rd pitch after manager Rick Renteria went to the mound for a visit. Four batters later, against lefty Jace Fry, Mitch Haniger homered to give the Mariners an 8-6 lead.
“I just said, ‘Hey man, it’s time to go to work,’ ” Renteria said. “I wanted him to grind.”
But the grinding fell on the Sox lineup after Lopez and Fry blew that comfy lead.
“You hate to be down,” Anderson said, “so we went out and came back.”
Moments after Harold Baines and Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot threw out first pitches to A.J. Pierzynski, and after Jim Thome and Sox players rolled onto the field in convertibles, a comeback looked like the last thing the Sox would need. Three errors by Mariners shortstop Tim Beckham in the Sox’ first three at-bats — two on one play — and an Anderson single loaded the bases for Moncada against lefty Yusei Kikuchi. Batting right-handed, Moncada came within inches of a grand slam but settled for a two-run double.
Two walks by Mariners lefty Cory Gearrin, a hit by pitch (Welington Castillo) and Anderson hustling to beat a forceout at second preceded Moncada’s single in the seventh. The hit to center made Moncada (.458) the seventh Sox with 10-plus RBI in his first six games and the fifth Sox to have 10-plus hits and 10-plus RBI through the first six games, joining Carlos Quentin, Floyd Robinson, Zeke Bonura and Shoeless Joe Jackson.
Moncada has done all of it batting left, right, first, second and fifth [Friday] in the batting order.
“I don’t think about what spot I’m in in the lineup,” he said.
Also big for the Sox: Their last three relievers were an improvement over Lopez (five-plus innings, six hits, six runs, four walks, five strikeouts) and Fry.
Colome, facing the team that traded him in the offseason, pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
“No mercy,” Colome said. “Like any other team. Throw strikes, and just do my job.”