Crochet, bullpen combine for 3-hitter as White Sox blank Nationals, notch 2nd straight series win

CHICAGO — The first 25 games of the season could hardly have gone worse for the Chicago White Sox.

But after that awful start, they’ve been playing pretty good baseball for a while now.

Korey Lee went 3-for-3 with an RBI, Garrett Crochet tossed five scoreless innings and the White Sox topped the Washington Nationals, 2-0, on Wednesday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field for their second straight win.

Tommy Pham and Andrew Benintendi each singled and doubled for the White Sox, who remain in last place in the American League Central but are now 11-8 over their last 19 games after going 3-22 over their first 25.

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It was also Chicago’s second straight series win and second consecutive shutout of Washington after a 4-0 win over the Nationals in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.

The White Sox finished their seven-game homestand 5-2 after taking three of four from the Cleveland Guardians to open it up.

The White Sox have a day off Thursday before a six-game road trip against AL East foes. They play the Yankees in New York in a three-game weekend series and then head to Toronto for a three-game series against the Blue Jays next week.

Crochet grinds

Crochet (4-4) allowed three hits and left after 89 pitches, 56 for strikes. The 6-foot-6 left-hander struck out six and matched his season high with three walks.

Coming off an 11-strikeout win over Cleveland, Crochet wasn’t as sharp in this one, as he went deep in counts and his pitch count climbed.

“It was kind of a grind,” Crochet said. “I put myself in a hole early on. It was like 25 or 26 (pitches) in the first. Another 20-plus in the second and in the third.

“I threw a lot of high-stress pitches, and so it really kind of eliminated any opportunity I had to go six (innings) today. The way that our bullpen’s been going lately, as soon as I handed it off, I knew that it was kind of a win in the bag.”

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As Crochet expected, three White Sox relievers were dominant after he departed to complete the three-hitter.

Jared Shuster followed with two hitless innings, Jordan Leasure pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Michael Kopech worked around two walks in the ninth, striking out two, for his fifth save.

“It’s outstanding,” said Lee, the 25-year-old catcher who was behind the plate. “They’re doing it for us. They’ve been throwing strikes, and they’ve been coming in in clutch situations.

“We couldn’t ask for more from them.”

Lee did plenty himself, notching his second career three-hit game. His first was in July 2022 with Houston. He’s 12-for-29 in eight games in May and is hitting .309 for the season.

“Swinging at strikes and continuing my approach,” Lee said. “Holding myself accountable and having my teammates hold me accountable and getting good pitches to hit.”

The 36-year-old Pham, meanwhile, is batting .319 with two homers and 10 RBI since joining the White Sox on April 26 and has hit safely in 14 of 18 games.

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“He’s a professional at-bat, every single day,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “Just how he prepares, I think having him around and having the guys watch him on a daily basis has helped.”

The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on Pham’s run-scoring double down the third-base line. Lee’s RBI single with two outs in the sixth made it 2-0. He drove in Benintendi, who had doubled to the left-field corner.

Patrick Corbin (1-4) allowed two runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings for the Nationals.

Crochet worked out of a based-loaded jam in the top of the third after he walked Ildemaro Vargas and Joey Meneses with two outs. He escaped by striking out Keibert Ruiz.

“We get the bases loaded and got a chance to knock in some runs,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “We’re just not getting that timely hit.

“Patrick pitched really good again, we just can’t get that big hit.”

Roster moves

The White Sox acquired outfielder Corey Julks from the Houston Astros in a trade for minor-league right-hander Luis Rodriguez, then optioned Julks to Triple-A Charlotte.

The White Sox also recalled outfielder Dominic Fletcher from Charlotte and designated outfielder Rafael Ortega for assignment.

Trainer’s room

White Sox: Rookie third baseman Bryan Ramos sat out with left quad tightness. Grifol hopes he’ll be ready for Friday’s game against the Yankees in New York.

Up next

White Sox: Mike Clevinger (0-1, 5.41) starts against the Yankees in New York on Friday.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

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