The Sox did something improbable on this date in 1959


The Sox did something improbable on this date in 1959

Philip Humber's perfect game was certainly improbable; its finish (as JJ Stankevitz alluded to in his fantastic synopsis of the final at-bat) was equally remarkable. But on this day in 1959, something even more bizarre took place at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.

The 1959 White Sox was a team whose identity was earned by "strength up the middle" and a great pitching staff. Despite winning the pennant, they were 5th (out of 8 teams) in runs scored. So when the box score read 20-6 in favor of the Pale Hose after an April 22, 1959 game against the Athletics, it certainly wasn't the norm.

Much less amazing than the fact that they scored 20 runs was how they did it. The lone home run was hit by Luis Aparicio, who hit only six all year; a man who etched his plaque in Cooperstown with a legendary glove and a mountainous pile of stolen bases. That's not the most interesting thing about it.

Things looked grim after starter Early Wynn was knocked out in the bottom of the second after a Roger Maris homer made the score 6-1 Kansas City. The Sox rallied and took an 8-6 lead into the 7th inning, and what took place next will never again be duplicated on a Major League diamond; and this is how it went down:

- Ray Boone reached on a throwing error by shortstop Joe DeMaestri
- Al Smith reached on an error by third baseman Hal Smith during a sac-bunt
- Johnny Callison singled; Boone scored, Smith scored
- Luis Aparicio walked, then stole second
- Bob Shaw walked
- Earl Torgeson (batting for Sammy Esposito) walked, scoring Callison
- Nellie Fox walked, scoring Aparicio
- Jim Landis grounded out 1-2, Shaw forced at home
- Sherm Lollar walked, scoring Torgeson
- Boone walked, scoring Fox
- Smith walked, scoring Landis
- Callison was hit by pitch, scoring Lollar
- Aparicio walked, scoring Boone
- Shaw struck out
- Bubba Phillips (batting for Torgeson) walked, scoring Smith
- Fox walked, scoring Lou Skizas (running for Callison)
- Landis grounded out 1-3

That's right: 11 runs on one hit, three errors, 10 walks, and a hit-by-pitch; truly one of the most surreal sequences of events the game could ever produce.

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland turned in one of his best starts of the season on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the White Sox had nothing to show for it after a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

In six innings, Holland allowed four hits, one earned run, and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He was charged with his only run in the seventh, when he allowed a single to Yonder Alonso, who came around to score after Holland had been pulled from the game.

Despite his confidence in the bullpen, which has been one of the White Sox biggest strengths this season, Holland would like to see himself go deeper into the games.

“I should be getting into the 7th and not having 110 pitches,” Holland said. “The bullpen's done a great job of picking us up in the seventh, eighth and ninth. The starters, and really pointing more to myself, we need to...I need to go out there and go longer."

Entering Sunday, three of Holland’s last four starts had been the worst outings of the season – allowing 22 earned runs over those four games. Despite the team’s 5-3 loss, Holland felt his outing was a step in the right direction.

“I felt good about everything out there,” Holland said. “(Omar Narvaez) and I were right on the same page. There were just a couple of things that got away from us. Just one of those things. Defense made the plays for us when they needed to, unfortunately we just didn't come out on top."

Manager Rick Renteria also had high praise for the 30-year-old southpaw, who bounced back from one of his shortest outings of the season.

“I thought Holland, hopefully what's not lost is Holland's outing today was really, really good,” Renteria said. “He kept us in the ballgame. They've got some kids that can swing the bat. They were putting things together. All we were trying to do at the end was minimize any damage they could produce. We weren't able to.”

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.

Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.

In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a broken bat single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:

Barreto: 78 percent
Healy: 5 percent
Davis: 62 percent
Alonso: 2 percent

That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success leading a strong back end of the White Sox bullpen this year. The White Sox, prior to Sunday's defeat, were 28-0 when leading after seven innings. 

"Our bullpen's doing a great (job), it really is," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think you can't take away from what they've been doing for us all year long. We've been going to them a lot."

On that improbable Alonso bloop single, Cabrera was shifted more toward center field. 

"He was actually playing a little more to the pull side than he was to the line," Renteria said. "I don't think he was going to be able to get to it, regardless of the effort he might have given us. These guys are all a little fatigued, they're a little tired right now. They're giving you what they've got right now."

Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.

Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.

The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.

Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.