Slow start sends White Sox to costly 10-8 loss vs Cubs
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria had a succinct message for his team after a disappointing finish to a successful regular season.
Forget about it, he said. It’s time to move on.
“We have to respond,” Renteria said. “We don’t respond, we’re out.”
Reynaldo López struggled and the White Sox tumbled out of position for a home playoff series, losing 10-8 to Kris Bryant and the crosstown Cubs on Sunday.
The White Sox (35-25) finished the season with seven losses in eight games to go from first in the AL Central to the seventh seed and a trip to Oakland for their first playoff appearance since 2008. They were in second place in the division heading into the final day, but Cleveland rallied for an 8-6 victory over Pittsburgh and hopped over Chicago via tiebreaker based on its 8-2 record in the season series.
Game 1 against the AL West champion Athletics is Tuesday.
“Just keep moving forward and get ready for the postseason,” rookie outfielder Luis Robert said through a translator. “We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing the whole season; just play hard and try to win games. That’s going to be our mindset for the postseason.”
The South Siders scored five in the eighth inning, and Yasmani Grandal’s two-run homer trimmed the Cubs’ lead to 10-8 in the ninth. Andrew Chafin came in with two outs and a runner on and struck out Nomar Mazara looking for his first save of the season.
Bryant, Billy Hamilton and David Bote homered for the Cubs (34-26), who rested Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ a day after clinching the NL Central title. Adbert Alzolay (1-1) struck out a career-high eight in five effective innings.
The Cubs are the NL’s third seed for their fifth playoff appearance in the last six years. They will be at Wrigley Field for the wild-card round beginning on Wednesday against No. 6 seed Miami.
“Coming out on the other side of a season like this really feels rewarding,” manager David Ross said. “This was a unique season, a challenging season, for a lot of reasons.”
The North Siders had lost five of six before taking two of three in the weekend set at Guaranteed Rate Field. The series concluded with homers on back-to-back days for Bryant, an encouraging sign after the 2016 NL MVP was sidelined by oblique tightness.
“He looks like he feels really good,” Ross said. “The at-bats are great ... and it’s nice to see that. It looks like he’s in a really good place.”
Bryant, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency for much of the pandemic-shortened season, opened the second with a massive drive to left for his fourth homer. Bote added a two-run shot, Cameron Maybin singled in two runs and Hamilton swiped home as part of a double steal, helping the Cubs build a 6-0 lead.
López (1-3) was pulled with one out in the inning. He was charged with all six runs and four hits. The right-hander had gone 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in his previous three starts.
Hamilton also hit a drive to left-center in the fourth, making it 7-0 with his first homer since Aug. 29, 2018, for Cincinnati against Milwaukee. He became the first player to go deep and steal home in the same game for the Cubs since Glenn Beckert on April 11, 1967, according to Elias Sports.
The Cubs brought up left-hander Brailyn Marquez from their alternate training site in South Bend, Indiana. Infielder Patrick Wisdom was designated for assignment.
The 21-year-old Marquez, one of the team’s top prospects, got two outs in the eighth in his big league debut. He walked three and was charged with five runs.
Cubs: RHP Tyler Chatwood (elbow) threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday. “Looked really good,” Ross said. “I still think he’s a good bit away.”
White Sox: OF Eloy Jiménez (sprained right foot) is “improving exponentially,” Renteria said. Jiménez missed the series against the Cubs after he got hurt on a slide during Thursday’s 5-4 loss at Cleveland. “Tomorrow will be a good day for us to kind of truly assess where he’s at,” Renteria said. ... LHP Gio González left in the seventh with a sore shoulder. Renteria said González will be re-evaluated on Monday.
Cubs: RHPs Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 2.88 ERA) and Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 ERA) likely will start the first two playoff games, but Ross declined to announce his postseason rotation.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (4-3, 3.48 ERA) and LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-2, 1.99 ERA) will start the first two games in the wild-card round.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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