White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger delivers during the first inning against the Washington Nationals, Monday, in Washington. (AP)
WASHINGTON — A complete game from the starting pitcher and a three-run homer from the star outfielder.
A four-hit game from the shortstop to lead a 15-hit attack.
And no walks from said starter, Mike Clevinger.
Such winning formulas have been rare for the 2023 White Sox, but they concocted one Monday for a 6-1 win over the Nationals to get their final road trip of a painfully long season started on a victorious note. There were even pennant-race-like sparks flying around two teams that have been out of it for some time.
Clevinger (8-8) was one out away from a shutout when Dominic Smith homered. He allowed six hits, struck out seven and issued no bases on balls for the fourth straight start. He lowered his ERA to 3.42.
Clevinger, who threw 109 pitches, was talking to Smith while Smith slowly rounded the bases after the home run, prompting both benches and bullpens to empty. There were no punches thrown.
Smith took a step toward Clevinger after touching the plate, and catcher Yasmani Grandal stood between them. Clevinger smiled and pointed to the scoreboard.
“He did his dance, stayed at the plate for 10 seconds after getting absolutely obliterated all night,” Clevinger said, “and then when he went around the bases, he still wanted to — as I was holding my glove up to [manager] Pedro [Grifol] that I didn’t want to come out of the game — mock me after him and everybody else didn’t have a good night. I gave my piece, and that was it.”
Smith told reporters he wasn’t sure why Clevinger was upset.
Grifol told Clevinger he had one more batter.
“I said, ‘Finish it,’ ’’ Grifol said, and Carter Kieboom struck out to cap the third complete game of Clevinger’s career. Clevinger is 2-2 with a 1.64 ERA in his last six road starts, including three scoreless efforts.
Center fielder Luis Robert Jr. hit a three-run homer, and Tim Anderson had four singles to notch the 16th four-hit game of his career.
The Sox are 58-93. The Nationals are 66-85.
The roster for 2024 will look different, and the coaching staff most certainly will, too, after this debacle of a season, although to what extent is not yet known.
“We’re not there yet,” Grifol said. “Everybody is being evaluated by a new general manager [Chris Getz]. That’s me included. I know that he said I’m coming back, but you’re still getting evaluated. And he is, too. We all are.
“We should be. We know we have to change things. Not necessarily make changes, but do things differently. And play a different way and do it different. Can’t get too deep into all of it, but we know what we have to do to put something on the field that is going to compete for what we want to be.”
This and that
Robert broke an 0-for-18 slump with his homer against right-hander Joan Adon to break a 0-0 tie. Robert, who has 36 homers, had not gone deep since Aug. 30 in Baltimore.
† Anderson (4-for-5) has seven hits in his last two games, raising his average to 251. He is batting .293 in the second half.
† Yoan Moncada hit his 18th and 19th doubles of the season. In his last 34 games, Moncada has a .314/.349/.536 hitting line.