Chicago gets Clobbered, Klubered; Indians 14, White Sox 3
Steve Eby | On 13, Sep 2013
After two straight losses to the wild card hopeful Kansas City Royals, the Cleveland Indians came back with a vengeance as they clobbered the woeful Chicago White Sox by a score of 14-3.
The Indians offense exploded on lefthander John Danks (4-13, 4.73) and the Chicago bullpen while giving strong support to starting pitcher Corey Kluber (9-5, 3.55) in the meantime. With the victory, the Indians were able to keep pace in the wild card race as the current second spot holders—the Tampa Bay Rays—were also victorious over the Boston Red Sox by a score of 4-3. Because of this, the Indians remain 1.5 games out of the playoff picture as they were when play began.
The Tribe did gain some ground on other contenders, however, as the Baltimore Orioles dropped a game to the New York Yankees to push the O’s a full game behind the Tribe. The Royals were idle on Thursday, so the Indians also put a full game of game of separation between them and their Central Division rivals as well. The victorious Yankees remain one half game ahead of the Indians and only one game behind Tampa Bay. The wild card leading Texas Rangers were also idle on Thursday.
The Indians offense was certainly not idle as they exploded early off of Danks. Nick Swisher rocketed the fifth pitch of the ballgame out of the yard to left for a 1-0 Cleveland lead and his jack was just the beginning of a big offensive night for the Tribe. The homerun was Swisher’s 18th of the season to tie him for the team lead. Jason Kipnis followed with a single up the middle and then Carlos Santana came back from a 0-2 count to work a walk. This set the stage for Ryan Raburn to have the big blow, lifting a three-run homerun to left for a 4-0 Tribe advantage. The blast was Raburn’s 16th, as he paces the league among players with less than 250 at bats. Yan Gomes continued the offensive barrage in the first inning with a two-out double, but he was stranded at second when Danks struck out Mike Aviles to end the threat.
After Kluber set down the Sox scoreless in the bottom of the first, the Tribe got back on the board in the second. Drew Stubbs singled to lead off the inning and snap a 0-14 slump at the plate, but was erased on a Michael Bourn double play ball to the second baseman. Stubbs ended the ballgame with three hits, including a double. Swisher followed that up with a grounder to the third baseman Marcus Semien, but Semien couldn’t handle the ball cleanly for an error. Kipnis then made the White Sox pay by lifting a double down into the left field corner, scoring Swisher all the way from first for a 5-0 lead.
Chicago got on the board in the bottom half of the second when Paul Konerko launched a solo homerun into the left field seats as well. With the homerun, Konerko sits at 48 career bombs against the Indians, 10th most all-time. Konerko sits three back of a ninth place tie with Carl Yastrzemski and Norm Cash, but an amazing 44 homeruns behind leader Babe Ruth.
The Tribe answered right back in the top of the third, getting the run scored back immediately. Raburn led off the frame with a walk and then was chased to third when Gomes smoked a double to center. The ball that Gomes hit seemed catchable, but Alejandro De Aza misplayed the deep drive on the warning track. With one out, Aviles lifted a sacrifice fly to right to make the score 6-1, but Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez then saved another tally by making a nice play on a Stubbs groundball to his right.
The back and forth trading of runs continued as the White Sox came back again in the bottom half, as Semien hit a ground rule double to center to lead off the inning. De Aza then plated the second Chicago run by singling back up the middle. The Indians answered again in the top of the fourth when Bourn tripled to right to start the inning and Kipnis lifted a one-out sacrifice fly to make the score 7-2. Later in the inning, Santana was able to work a walk after it looked like he pulled a muscle in his back on a swing and a miss. He was then thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a Raburn double down the left field line.
Kluber was finally able to throw up a zero in the bottom of the fourth, but the Indians scoring trend continued in a big way. In the top of the fifth, Asdrubal Cabrera got the Tribe going again with his 12th homerun of the year to make the score 8-2. The blast came off of reliever Charlie Leesman, who came in out of the bullpen for Danks. Leesman then walked both Gomes and Aviles before a downpour of precipitation seemingly came out of nowhere, putting the game in a short 17 minute rain delay.
When the rain subsided, Leesman continued his wildness and walked Stubbs to load the bases with nobody out. Bourn then ripped a single into right to score Gomes and make the score 9-2 and Swisher then knocked a single in the gap to plate Aviles and Stubbs for an 11-2 lead. After Kipnis reloaded the bases with another walk, Leesman was pulled from the game in favor of relief pitcher Dylan Axelrod. Leesman faced seven batters and allowed three hits and four walks.
Axelrod did not fare much better, allowing Santana to bloop a single into right field for an RBI and a 12-2 Indians advantage. Raburn then dropped a base hit into the left-centerfield gap to score two more runs. Axelrod finally retired the first batter of the inning when he struck out Cabrera more than 40 minutes and 53 pitches after the fifth inning started. A double play by Gomes ended the inning mercifully for the White Sox.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Indians saw the return of pitcher Josh Tomlin as well as catcher Kelly Shoppach. Tomlin underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2012 and made his season debut with the Indians leading by a dozen runs. Shoppach, meanwhile, was reacquired by the Indians to be the third catcher for the month of September. Tomlin worked two scoreless innings of relief while Shoppach grounded out to short and struck out in his only two at bats.
The Indians (78-68) will play game two of the four game series on Friday in an odd 2:10 matinee contest at U.S. Cellular Field. Rookie Danny Salazar (1-2, 2.92) will get the ball for the Indians while lefty Hector Santiago (4-8, 3.44) will oppose him for the White Sox. The game can be seen on both Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and WGN and can be heard on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images