Gran­dal Snaps tie, cre­ates Tie

Walk-off Home run in the Ninth puts Sox even with In­di­ans and Twins atop the Al Cen­tral Stand­ings

Chicago Sun-Times - - SOX BEAT - BY BRIAN SANDALOW | @bri­ansan­dalow

Jackie Robin­son Day is al­ways an im­por­tant date on the base­ball cal­en­dar. This sea­son, it felt even more con­se­quen­tial. In purely base­ball terms, it also mat­tered for the White Sox and Yas­mani Gran­dal.

On Fri­day, the Sox beat the Roy­als 6-5 on Gran­dal’s ninth-in­ning walk-off home run that moved them into a first-place tie in the Amer­i­can League Cen­tral. The dra­matic victory came on the an­nual com­mem­o­ra­tion of Robin­son break­ing the color bar­rier af­ter it was shifted from April 15 be­cause of the COVID-19 pan­demic.

“We were wait­ing for this mo­ment,” Rey­naldo Lopez said, “and now that we’re [in first place], it’s a re­ally sweet mo­ment for us, and it’s a reward for all the work we’ve been put­ting in in the past and that we con­tinue do­ing in the present.”

Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert also home­red, Lopez al­lowed two runs in four in­nings and the Sox won a game that was moved up to 6:10 be­cause of a fore­cast for in­clement weather. And they made it interestin­g.

With one out in the ninth against Alex Colome, Kansas City’s Maikel Franco’s line drive fell into left-cen­ter. He over­ran first and was caught in a run­down but eluded Jose Abreu’s tag be­fore get­ting to sec­ond. Abreu then threw home, but Gran­dal wasn’t ex­pect­ing the ball, and it got past him, al­low­ing Bubba Star­ling to tie the game at 5.

But Gran­dal made sure the top of the ninth was a foot­note.

“I told my­self, just take a shot, see what hap­pens,” Gran­dal said. “If not, get on base and hope­fully [Abreu] can get me in.”

The Sox’ lat­est win came on what man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria called a “big day for the game of base­ball for what Jackie meant to us as base­ball goes and as a so­ci­ety.” And as for ath­letes us­ing their plat­form to raise aware­ness and work to bring change, Ren­te­ria said he’s “to­tally be­hind” any de­ci­sions play­ers make to use their voices, and that it “be­hooves us to be able to lis­ten.”

“It puts an ex­cla­ma­tion point on some of the grav­ity and im­por­tance of some of the points that need to be made,” Ren­te­ria said. “It’s not a sit­u­a­tion that’s com­fort­able for many, I’m sure. But they’re try­ing to em­pha­size and bring to light some of the things that they’ve been hav­ing to deal with over so many years. They’re prob­a­bly say­ing, ‘Enough’s enough,’ and they want to make sure that there are changes truly oc­cur­ring and there are ad­just­ments to how we deal with ev­ery­day life.”

This was the Sox’ first game since Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, when the NBA’s Bucks be­came the first sports team to choose not to play in the wake of the po­lice shoot­ing of Ja­cob Blake in the back in Kenosha, Wis­con­sin.

Be­fore this game, both teams ob­served a 42-sec­ond mo­ment of si­lence in honor of Robin­son and those af­fected by racism. And like in past years, every­body wore Robin­son’s No. 42, though there was no ad­di­tional demon­stra­tion.

Ren­te­ria said he spoke with a cou­ple of play­ers be­fore the game and that Tim An­der­son re­layed that the Sox were ready to play Fri­day.

On Twitter, An­der­son ex­plained what the an­nual Robin­son re­mem­brance means to him, call­ing it a day of re­flec­tion.

“Jackie en­cour­ages me to speak out, be who I am and play the game in a way that gives me pas­sion and ex­cite­ment,’’ An­der­son wrote. ‘‘He taught me that there is beauty in be­ing the un­der­dog. I will honor and re­spect #42, to­day and ev­ery day.” ✶

DAVID BANKS/GETTY IM­AGES

Yas­mani Gran­dal fol­lows the flight of his walk-off home run in the ninth in­ning against the Kansas City Roy­als.

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