Indians Erase Early Deficit With Offensive Explosion; Indians 10, White Sox 4
Bob Toth | On 23, Sep 2016
Ten runs in the middle innings, including a pair of four-run frames, helped power the Cleveland Indians past the Chicago White Sox, 10-4, on Friday night.
With the season rapidly winding down, the Indians inched another game closer to making their postseason dreams a reality with Trevor Bauer on the mound. The White Sox would get to Bauer twice with a pair of quick blasts to do some damage, but the right-hander was able to protect his big lead and pitched deep into the night.
It didn’t start out pretty for the Tribe and Bauer, who fell behind 2-0 three batters into the game. After a flyout for the first out, Tim Anderson tripled past Lonnie Chisenhall in right and came around to score on a two-run shot to right-center by Melky Cabrera to put the White Sox on top.
Miguel Gonzalez, who had never lost in his career to Cleveland, worked around base runners in the second and third innings before the Indians struck in the fourth. With one down, the slumping Mike Napoli singled to right. The next batter, Jose Ramirez, hit a no-doubter to right, punctuated by a long pose at the plate before his home run trot. The two-run shot tied the game at two.
It would take just two batters into the top half of the next inning to change that. Todd Frazier doubled down the left field line. Avisail Garcia somehow pushed a pitch on his hands over the wall the opposite way for a big homer, putting the Sox back in front by a 4-2 count.
With a lead to work with once again, Gonzalez could not slow the Indians down in the bottom of the fifth. After they stranded two on base after the Ramirez homer the previous inning, they immediately put the first two on in the fifth as Carlos Santana doubled to right and Jason Kipnis was hit by a pitch. Both moved up on a wild pitch before Francisco Lindor hit a fly ball to deep right to score Santana to make it 4-3. A bloop single to center from Napoli evened the score at four, tying Kipnis while sending Gonzalez to the showers.
Reliever Juan Minaya replaced him, but the Indians kept scoring. Napoli advanced to second on a stolen base before Ramirez reached on an error by Frazier on a grounder at third. Chisenhall struck out swinging for the second out, but Coco Crisp crushed a two-run double to the wall in right field to give Cleveland its first lead, 6-4.
Bauer flirted with danger briefly in the next half inning as Cabrera doubled to left with one out and moved to third on a groundout, but he prevented the response run with a strikeout of Justin Morneau looking at a 3-2 pitch.
The Indians got right back to work in the bottom of the sixth against Minaya. After Roberto Perez flied out to the wall in center, Santana singled and Robin Ventura went to his bullpen for Dan Jennings. After he struck out Kipnis on three straight pitches, Lindor walked and Napoli singled to center, driving in Santana with the seventh run of the night. Ramirez continued to perform with excellence in the clutch with a two-run double to right to push the lead to five at 9-4. Chisenhall walked before an RBI-single from Crisp knocked in his third run of the night with his third hit in as many innings as the Indians reached double digits at 10-4.
Bauer pitched into the eighth, getting the first two outs before a single and a walk ended his night. Zach McAllister replaced him on the mound and cut through the heart of the Chicago order, retiring Jose Abreu on a liner to end the eighth, then getting a grounder from Morneau to start the ninth before back-to-back strikeouts of Frazier and Garcia swinging to end the ball game.
With their 90th win, the Indians (90-63) maintained a seven-game lead over the Detroit Tigers while reducing their magic number to three games to clinch the American League Central Division. Both Boston and Texas were victorious, so the Indians will continue to trail the Rangers by a half game for home field advantage while leading the Red Sox by a half game. Their 90 wins are the most by the club since winning 92 games in 2013, a number still very much in the sights of the Tribe.
The White Sox (72-81) were officially eliminated from the AL Wild Card race with the loss, their sixth consecutive.
BAUER SAVES ARMS FOR BULLPEN DAY
Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA) worked quicker on the mound than at other times this season, but he remained aggressive. The Sox capitalized on some of his control of the strike zone, hitting the two two-run homers that could have proved costly if not for the pile of runs he received in support.
He allowed four runs on seven hits while working seven and two-thirds innings on the night. He struck out six and walked a pair and enabled manager Terry Francona to save all the arms in his ‘pen with the exception of McAllister because of his long outing on the mound.
With his win, Bauer established a new career high for wins in a season with a dozen.
MORE OF THE SAME FROM SANTANA
Santana was 3-for-4 at the top of the Indians lineup while also drawing a walk. The effort turned into two runs for Cleveland.
Santana is now 10-for-16 in his last four games and is hitting .257 with a .364 on-base percentage this season.
YES WAY JOSE
Ramirez, who has a new shirt debuting with Cleveland area t-shirt store GV Art + Design, had himself a nice performance in celebration as he went 2-for-5 on the night with three runs scored and four runs batted in. His season batting average is now .315.
SLUMP BUSTIN’ AND PARTY ROCKIN’
Napoli entered the game marred in an 0-for-20 slump at the plate. After grounding out in the first, he singled and scored in the fourth, singled home a run and later scored in the fifth, and did the same in the sixth. He grounded out to third for the second time on the night in his final at bat in the eighth.
Since 1954 when sacrifice flies began being recorded as stats, only Juan Gonzalez (16) and Albert Belle (14) have as many or more in one season in Cleveland history as Lindor. The Indians All-Star shortstop equaled Belle’s total and increased his Major League leading total to 14 with his fly to right in the fifth inning.
The next closest player in the AL is Chicago’s Abreu with nine.
GONZALEZ SUFFERS FIRST DEFEAT
The veteran Gonzalez (4-8, 3.98) took his first career loss at the hands of the Indians on Friday night in the series opener after working just four and one-third innings in his shortest start since returning from the disabled list earlier in the month.
He allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits. He did not walk a batter, hit one batter with a pitch, and struck out a pair.
EATON EXITS AFTER SCARY CRASH
Adam Eaton made an incredible catch of a deep drive by Perez to start the bottom half of the sixth inning, corralling the ball and slamming into the wall almost simultaneously. He managed to hold on, but he got the worst of the collision. Following the game, Ventura shared that Eaton’s hip, back, and shoulder were all dinged on the play. He was also being looked at for a possible concussion.
The Indians and White Sox will meet up again in the middle game of the series on Saturday night. Cleveland will employ the bullpen game, with right-hander Cody Anderson (2-4, 6.24) set to be the first of the arms to the mound for the Indians’ Francona. The White Sox will send one of their best arms to the mound in left-hander Jose Quintana (12-11, 3.26), who will face the Indians for the fifth time this year. He is 1-2 this season against Cleveland with a win in his last start against them in Chicago.
First pitch of Fan Appreciation Night is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images