Tribe Survives Rain To Sweep Sox; Indians 3, White Sox 2
By Christian Petrila
At what point does playing in a monsoon become too much?
Despite pouring rain for most of the middle innings, the umpire crew tried to keep the game going as long as possible before finally giving in to a rain delay in the eighth inning.
The Indians were able to fight through the nasty weather and beat the Chicago White Sox, 3-2.
Josh Tomlin pitched seven and one-third stellar innings, allowing two earned runs and setting a new career high with eight strikeouts. However, it was the elements that ended his night in the eighth.
The first four innings were uneventful on both sides. In the fifth, it was the White Sox that drew first blood on a Brent Morel RBI groundout. It could have been much worse when with two outs, Jason Donald spiked a throw to first. Luckily for the Wahoos, Carlos Santana was able to keep a foot on the bag to get the Indians out of the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, the rain started to pick up. The first two hitters in the inning went down quickly. Then, with two outs, Lou Marson drew a walk. Manny Acta gave Marson the green light to steal second. This was a crucial play because the next batter, Michael Brantley, who had three RBI in the first game of the doubleheader, grounded a base hit into right. Marson was able to score the tying run on the play with Brantley advancing to second on the throw. The next batter was the white hot Jason Kipnis, who matched Brantley with an RBI single to right of his own. With that two-out rally, the Indians nabbed a 2-1 lead.
From there, the rain intensified every half inning. So did Tomlin. He continued to strikeout White Sox through the pouring rain. Finally, in the eighth, he hit a speed bump. He got Morel to pop out, but then allowed two straight Sox to reach base before Manny Acta decided to pull the plug and the grounds grew decided to pull the tarp.
“(Tomlin) gave us a tremendous outing,” Acta said after the game. “It was fantastic.”
An hour and 25 long minutes later, the game resumed with Joe Smith on the bump. Alex Rios was the first batter after the delay and he hit a single into right field to knot the game at 2-2. It could have been much worse, but Smith got Adam Dunn to check his swing and induce a 1-6-3 double play.
The bottom of the eighth was a defensive alignment disaster for the White Sox. The outfield was playing a no-doubles defense and the Indians countered with bloop singles from Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana. After Travis Hafner popped out, Shelley Duncan came up and laced a two-run double down the left field line. The White Sox were able to avoid a complete implosion by inducing a double play from Jack Hannahan after intentionally walking Aaron Cunningham.
With the bullpen depleted, Tony Sipp came in for the ninth. The first batter, Alexei Ramirez, smacked a pitch that drove Aaron Cunningham’s back to the left field wall before making a catch for a loud first out. Sipp then got Brent Lillibridge to strike out before having to face Paul Konerko, entering the game as a pinch hitter. Sipp walked Konerko and it brought Tyler Flowers to the plate. The first pitch was belted foul. It hit the catwalk behind the Home Run Porch in left. After narrowly missing the go-ahead home run, Flowers struck out and Tony Sipp had his first save since 2010.
“The only guys available out of the pen in the second game were Wheeler and Tony Sipp,” Acta said. “Smith wasn’t even supposed to pitch today.”
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images