CHICAGO (AP) — Leury Garcia hit a game-ending home run with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Chicago White Sox over the Boston Red Sox 2-1 Sunday.
After Boston reliever Garrett Whitlock (8-4) struck out Eloy Jiménez and Yasmani Grandal to begin the inning, Garcia fell behind 0-2 before hitting a 98 mph fastball over the center-field fence. It was the fifth homer of the season for Garcia, who is filling in at shortstop with starter Tim Anderson on the injured list.
"I knew I hit it good, but it was center field," Garcia said. "I said, ‘You better go!'
"It was one of the best moments for me."
Chicago took a 1-0 lead and a three-hit shutout into the ninth before Craig Kimbrel (4-4) struggled with his control and blew the save.
Kiké Hernández led off with a double to center. After Kyle Schwarber struck out, Kimbrel walked Hunter Renfroe and Rafael Devers to load the bases. Alex Verdugo followed with a tying sacrifice fly to left.
The teams combined for just eight hits, and the game developed into a pitcher's duel despite the fact both starters were making their first appearances since August.
Chicago's Lance Lynn allowed two hits over five scoreless innings in his return from a stint on the 10-day IL with right knee inflammation. The veteran right-hander walked none, struck out nine and lowered his ERA to 2.50 in his first outing since Aug. 28.
"When I went on the IL, we were trying to stay on top of it and I think we're in a good spot right now," Lynn said of his knee. "It's not going to go away."
Boston's Nick Pivetta allowed one unearned on three hits in 5 1/3 innings after being activated from the COVID-19 IL. Pivetta entered having allowed 12 runs in 10 2/3 innings over his previous three starts.
Pivetta, who started Sunday after Chris Sale went on the COVID-19 list at the start of the series, said he was asymptomatic but struggled to keep prepared during his absence.
"The first time I got on a mound was yesterday," Pivetta said. "While I was out, I got into my car and went to a field where no one was around and threw into a fence. That was about it."
The White Sox broke through against Pivetta in the sixth inning with an unearned run. César Hernández led off and reached on a throwing error by second baseman Kiké Hernández. César Hernández was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by Luis Robert to make it 1-0.
A REGULAR GUY
Chicago manager Tony La Russa took offense when a reporter referred to Garcia as a utility player.
"He's a regular player who plays all around," La Russa said.
The Red Sox placed RHP Phillips Valdez on the COVID-19 list before the game and recalled RHP Brad Peacock from Triple-A Worcester. Valdez is the latest Boston player to test positive in an outbreak that's lasted two weeks. Peacock was sent down on Saturday, but remained with the team as part of the taxi squad.
Red Sox: DH J.D. Martinez was hoping to play but missed his third straight game with back spasms. The team is optimistic he'll be ready to return Monday or Tuesday.
White Sox: Anderson (left hamstring strain) ran the bases as part of his pregame workout on Sunday. La Russa said Anderson should be activated from the 10-day IL on Tuesday barring a setback. "His legs are a big part of his game, offensively and defensively, so we're being super cautious," La Russa said. "We're going to be careful with his usage." ... OF Andrew Vaughn wasn't available for a second straight game because of soreness in both legs.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (11-8, 5.15 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Seattle on Monday night. RHP Logan Gilbert (5-5, 5.10) goes for the Mariners.
White Sox: They haven't named a starter for Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series with the Angels. LHP Packy Naughton (0-1, 2.57 ERA) will pitch for Los Angeles.