Dallas Keuchel shook off a mental blunder by third baseman Yoan Moncada, pitching six innings of two-run ball against a tough Blue Jays lineup, and the Sox responded to a sloppy loss the night before and news that Nick Madrigal will be out for an extended period of time by scoring three runs in the first inning en route to a 5-2 win Thursday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Yasmani Grandal and Adam Engel homered, and Jose Abreu had an RBI double in the first against lefty Hyun Jin Ryu (5-4) and another double in the eighth for his 48th RBI. Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Liam Hendriks (American League-leading 16th save) each pitched a scoreless inning to help the Sox (38-24) take a series over a 31-29 team.
“[It’s] more fun than anything, especially when you’re good and know you can win night in and night out,” said Keuchel, who improved to 5-1 with a 4.14 ERA. “That’s where we’re at. Against a tough lineup, we need these types of games to push us to October.”
Keuchel retired the first eight batters he faced and notched a season-high eight strikeouts but had to work extra because Moncada thought there were two outs when Randal Grichuk hit a double-play ground ball at him in the sixth. Instead of throwing to second, Moncada threw to first to retire Grichuk, then took a couple of steps toward the Sox’ dugout.
Noticeably perturbed, Keuchel then gave up an RBI single to Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
“If I would make a mistake, I would hope somebody would get on me,” Keuchel said. “He’s a good enough player — he knows what happened. Hopefully he won’t make that mistake again.”
Keuchel said he also was “very frustrated” with himself for allowing Gurriel’s single.
Yermin Mercedes, batting second for the first time in one of Madrigal’s customary spots in his return to the lineup after a day on the bench, had two hits, including a double in the first.
Keuchel allowed two runs, six hits and two walks.
“He made some hellacious pitches to shut them down,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It was artistic, really.
“It was a really important win base on what happened yesterday. That was a tough day.”
Right-hander Michael Kopech, who hasn’t pitched since May 26 because of a hamstring strain, will resume throwing bullpens in the coming days, along with a possible simulated game, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“We want to see how those go first before we decide whether it makes sense for him to go out on a rehab assignment or we’re able to get enough work done here to be able to just activate him back to the roster,” Hahn said.
Bunch of hams
Madrigal is the latest Sox to suffer a hamstring injury, joining Engel, Kopech, Tim Anderson and Billy Hamilton. And Luis Robert is out with a strained hip flexor.
The Sox aren’t the only team to be hit by the rash of soft-tissue injuries, but Hahn, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, vice president Ken Williams and Sox sports-performance personnel are looking into what the causes might be.
“We don’t have any conclusions yet, but it’s an extremely fair question,” Hahn said.
“It’s not just a White Sox problem, per se. There also is the element of bad luck or bad clustered luck of these things piling on top of each other.”