Good morning, frents!
There's another playoff baseball game to be played this afternoon, but it looks like severe thunderstorms might complicate things.
Sure, now it rains.
Anyway, what a great Sunday for Chicago sports. Let's get right into it.
Sox 12, Astros 6
Bears 20, Raiders 9
Sky 91, Mercury 77
OL Reign 3, Red Stars 2
Bulls 102, Cavs 101
Astros at Sox (2:37, FS1)
Sox 12, Astros 6: Signs of life on the South Side
The challenge the Sox face against the Astros is still a tall one.
But man, did the team and fanbase need last night.
Faced with the possibility of being unceremoniously swept after a 93-win season, the team erased an early four-run deficit with an offensive explosion we hoped would arrive before elimination.
The end result: A 12-6 win in Game 3 that staved off a winter of unending negativity and forced another contest this afternoon. Win today and the ALDS heads back to Houston for a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday.
No matter what happens, Sunday's game will go down as a classic that will be harder to forget than the last time a Sox team down 2-0 won an ALDS Game 3 at home. (Seriously, can you tell me anything you remember from that game against the Rays?)
This Game 3 will likely be remembered three ways:
- The Leury Garcia Game: The longest-tenured member of the Sox got the start in right field and took full advantage. He went 2-for-5 with four RBI from the No. 8 spot and his three-run homer in the third gave the Sox a 6-5 lead. He later added an RBI double in the eighth. The Sox have four extra-base hits this series and Resurrection Leury is responsible for half of them.
- The Yasmani Grandal Game: The Sox catcher hit a two-run homer in the third that started the comeback and drew two walks. The thing you'll remember, though, is creating a Pierzynski-esque controversy by getting in the way of Yuli Gurriel's throw home on a fielder's choice and helping spark a three-run fourth that put the Sox up 9-6. The Astros were ticked, the umpires were somehow unmoved and Grandal went back to the dugout and told his teammates it was "just good baserunning." Gamer.
- The Bullpen Game: Dylan Cease lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up three runs and three walks. Michael Kopech gave up three over 2 1/3 innings. If it weren't for the ensuing efforts of Ryan Tepera and Aaron Bummer, there's no way we're sitting here talking about a win. The two middle relievers combined for seven strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings to get the game to Liam Hendriks in the ninth. (Craig Kimbrel did get one out to close the eighth.)
In all, it was a full-team effort with every member of the starting lineup getting a hit (plus Andrew Vaughn, who stroked a pinch-hit double to the left field gap in the eighth.)
And can we say a little about the insane crowd, which enjoyed its first playoff game on the South Side in 13 years? Sox fans came ready to win from the start and if you watched from home as I did, you probably had a strong case of FOMO.
Momentum only goes as far as the next day's starter. Carlos Rodon (13-5, 2.37) gets the ball for the Sox while Jose Urquidy (8-3, 3.62) goes for the Astros. We'll see what Rodon's left arm still has left to offer, though the pitcher said he'd felt like his performance had turned the corner.
The rest of the Sox might say the same about themselves.
"They've had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there. We can say it's a little bit of a difference. I think you saw the swings and misses tonight compared to the first two games at Minute Maid." — Ryan Tepera
Bears 20, Raiders 9: Viva Las Vegas
The Bears' first two road trips unleashed a lot of doubt and questions about the team.
The third pushed them over the .500 mark at 3-2.
It's been an eventful season so far and Sunday's 20-9 road win over the Raiders in Las Vegas was the latest twist.
- Justin Fields threw his first career touchdown pass with a strike to Jesper Horsted (file that away for a future trivia night) and returned from an early injury to his left leg that sent him to the blue tent for two plays.
- Fields' numbers weren't eye-popping — 12-for-20 for 111 yards and one score — but he didn't turn the ball over. He also answered a Raiders drive that made the score 14-9 in the fourth with a 10-play drive that ate 6:16 of clock and resulted in a Cairo Santos field goal. The coaching staff still isn't asking a lot of him yet. The training wheels are very much on. Only 252 yards of total offense for a unit that still ranks last in the league for total yardage.
- The Bears were ... just fine without David Montgomery? Khalil Herbert fulfilled some expectations we drew up for him after the preseason, rushing 18 times for 75 yards while Damian Williams went 16 times for 64 yards.
- And then there was the defense. The Bears held the Derek Carr and the Raiders to 259 total yards and just 71 on the ground. The unit was aided by a large contingent of Bears fans who made the trip and may have even forced a delay of game penalty in the fourth.
All in all, it was a solid if not flashy start to a month-and-a-half stretch that's going to prove difficult. The 4-1 Packers arrive at Soldier Field next Sunday with first place in the NFC North on the line.
(Yes, I know how this usually turns out. Doesn't mean I'm not going to get my hopes up all week long anyway.)
News and results
Sky cruise to 1-0 series lead in WNBA Finals
That's a nice start to the series. Though the Sky trailed early, they put together a 21-2 run heading into halftime that put them in position for a relatively stress-free 91-77 win in the best-of-five series.
- Kahleah Copper led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Candace Parker had 16 points and eight boards; Allie Quigley scored 18 while Courtney Vandersloot turned in 11 assists.
- The Mercury were a tired squad, needing until Friday night to finally dispose of Las Vegas. Diana Taurasi also had an eventful weekend, welcoming her second child with her wife on Saturday.
- Game 2 is on Wednesday night in Phoenix. The series arrives in Chicago on Friday and Sunday (if necessary).
Humid day marks return of Chicago Marathon
After missing one year due to the pandemic, the Chicago Marathon returned on Sunday with a race that challenged and cramped runners with an increasing diet of heat. Ethiopia's Seifu Tura Abdiwak won the men's competition (at 2:06.12) and Kenya's Ruth Chepngetich (2:23:21) won the women's race.
Also, the following Midway Minute readers went out there and had themselves a nice trip around our city. Congrats to all of them for getting the job done!
- Michael Sanders (3:58.34)
- Chris Fickett (3:59:36)
- Michael Holmes (4:30.30)
- Cam Ellis (5:13:32)
- Larry Hawley (5:44:51)
- John Cieslak (5:47:42)
- Elena Violari (5:47:42)
- #14 Notre Dame 32, Va Tech 29: Impressive Irish comeback.
- Wisconsin 24, Illinois 0: The Illini stopped Graham Mertz this time, but couldn't put any points on the board.
- Northern Illinois 22, Toledo 20: John Richardson nailed five field goals, including one with 26 seconds left, as the Huskies sprang the road upset. NIU is 2-0 in MAC play.
- Jonathan Toews scored two goals in the preseason finale and said he'll be ready for Wednesday's season opener in Colorado. Bleacher Nation
- t's only the preseason but Stephen Noh has noticed a few things that should get us excited about the 2021-22 Chicago Bulls. Stephen Noh
- Todd Johnson thinks the Cubs farm system will help in 2022, just not right away. Cubs Insider
- The best fan signs at the Chicago Marathon. Tribune
- Shalane Flanagan is attempting to run six marathons in 43 days. She completed Chicago's on Sunday and plans to be in Boston today to log her fourth of the quest. NY Times