Jimenez’s 9th-Inning Homer Sinks Cubs in Crosstown Opener 3-1

Eloy Jiménez
Eloy Jiménez.

Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- It’s that magical time in the Windy City again where households and friendships are divided, couples sleep in different beds, friendly banter is exchanged, and fans all over the Chicagoland area wear their favorite team’s colors and gear. It’s the Annual Crosstown Series between the Chicago Cubs (39-32) and their Southside rivals, the Chicago White Sox (34-36) at beautiful and historic Wrigley Field.

This is the 119th meeting between the two teams since interleague play began in 1997 with the White Sox holding a 60-58 edge in the series.

The first of this two-game series featured starting pitchers Cole Hamels (6-2 2.98) for the Cubs vs. Ivan Nova (3-5 6.28) for the White Sox.

The Sox created a scoring chance to start the game with a Leury Garcia leadoff single, followed by a Jose Abreu one-out single and a James McCann walk to load the bases. Hamels would get former Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez to ground into a 5-4-3 double-play to end the Sox’ scoring threat.

In the Cubs’ bottom-half of the 1st, leadoff man Kyle Schwarber took the first pitch he saw from Ivan Nova into the leftfield bleachers to put the Cubs ahead 1-0.

ChiSox starter Ivan Nova buckled down after surrendering the leadoff homer and went on to retire 14 of the next 17 Cubs’ hitters he faced. Nova left the game after five innings allowing one run on 4 hits, striking out one and walking 2.

In the 3rd, Cole Hamels made baseball history by recording 2,500th strikeout of his career becoming the 10th left-handed pitcher and the 38th pitcher in MLB history to accomplish the feat.

In the 6th, the White Sox tied the game after a Tim Anderson grounder to Javier Baez, whose wild throw to Anthony Rizzo at 1st allowed Leury Garcia to score from 2nd after a leadoff double.

Moments later with no outs, Anderson at 1st, and a 2-2 count on Abreu, the Sox’ first-baseman swung and missed on a hit-and-run and both Anderson and Abreu were called out. Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson declared that Abreu interfered with catcher Victor Caratini’s throw to 2nd on the play resulting in the rare double play.

Cubs’ starter Cole Hamels went on to pitch his 9th quality start of the season – fourth in a row – and left the game after seven innings of work, surrendering one run on 6 hits, striking out 8 and walking 2.

In the 9th, Eloy Jimenez hit a two-run blast to left off Pedro Strop to put the Sox on top 3-1.

The homer proved to be the difference as Sox’ closer Alex Colome earns his 15th save of the season by pitching a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th to seal the win for the Southsiders in Game 1 of the two-game series. The series concludes Wednesday night at 7:05 PM with Jon Lester (5-5 4.08) against Lucas Giolito (10-1 2.22).