Big Effort from Bauer Again as Tribe Wins Twelfth Straight; Indians 5, White Sox 3
Bob Toth | On 04, Sep 2017
Baseball sure is fun when you’re on the winning side of the ledger.
For the Cleveland Indians, it’s been nearly two straight weeks of good times. And while there was a holiday to celebrate Monday in Labor Day, it was no off day for the Tribe as they won their 12th straight ball game with a 5-3 win over the White Sox from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
The Indians (81-56) had some timely hitting, some good quality starting pitching from Trevor Bauer, and a bit of a tight rope act from the bullpen, but the club secured yet another win in formally knocking the White Sox (54-82) out of playoff contention while guaranteeing the south side club a losing season. Cleveland, meanwhile, has locked in a fifth straight winning season.
Cleveland took an early lead in the second, using the long ball and some run manufacturing to move in front against veteran right-hander James Shields. Carlos Santana started the inning with a deep drive to right-center that cleared the wall for his 22nd home run of the campaign, putting the Indians on top, 1-0. Yandy Diaz followed with a double to right and after a fly out by Abraham Almonte, he moved to third on a ground out by Francisco Mejia. The two-out bat magic was working on the holiday for the Tribe as Roberto Perez worked a long at bat before doubling to left, scoring Diaz with ease from third to make it a 2-0 game.
Bauer worked around base runners in the first two innings, striking out each of the last two batters of the second. In the third, he struck out Adam Engel and Alen Hanson to record four straight Ks before a fly out by Yolmer Sanchez ended the frame.
The Indians got back to work in the fourth to pad their lead. Santana singled to center to start the inning before Diaz lined to short. A grounder to first by Almonte moved Santana into scoring position and a perfectly placed single up the middle by Mejia drove home Santana with the third run of the afternoon. For the rookie Mejia, the hit and the RBI were both the first of his career.
Bauer retired his tenth straight batters with his pop out of Omar Narvaez to start the fifth. The stretch included a bit of a tense display in the bottom of the fourth between the Tribe right-hander and Chicago’s Avisail Garcia, who jawed at each other briefly during and after the at bat, won by Bauer with a curveball strikeout of the Sox outfielder. Tim Anderson singled after the Narvaez pop out and an unlikely power source provided a pair of runs as Rymer Liriano got his first hit since the 2014 season with a two-run homer to left-center to cut Cleveland’s lead to 3-2.
Shields was pitching well for the White Sox heading into the seventh, but left early on in the inning. He walked Almonte to start the frame before Mejia lined his second offering off of Shields’ right knee. Shields crumpled to the turf in pain, clutching his knee, while the ball ricocheted back towards Narvaez, who threw to first to retire Mejia on the unconventional 1-2-3 put out. Jake Petricka came on in relief of the injured White Sox starter, who was able to walk off the field under his own power, and struck out Perez swinging for the second out, but Francisco Lindor singled to right to score Almonte with the Tribe’s fourth run of the afternoon to make it a 4-2 game.
The White Sox would respond with a run of their own off of the Indians bullpen in the bottom of the inning. Narvaez grounded out off of Bauer before manager Terry Francona went to his bullpen for Joe Smith. He allowed a one-out single to Anderson and a double to right by Liriano to make it a 4-3 game. After Smith retired Engel on a grounder to second, Tyler Olson came on from the ‘pen and got Hanson to ground to short to send the game to the eighth.
Jose Ramirez, who was gifted two home runs in Sunday’s win over Detroit, started the top half of the inning by hitting a blast that would require no additional assistance. The solo shot off of Chris Beck, his 23rd, extended the Indians’ lead to 5-3.
Bryan Shaw handled the home half of the eighth for Cleveland, giving up a one-out single to Jose Abreu before erasing him on the next pitch, a double play ball from Garcia to end the inning. The ninth required a bit more work from Cody Allen, who walked Narvaez with one out. A fielder’s choice forced Narvaez at second for the second out, but Allen walked Liriano on four straight to put the tying run on at first base. Chicago manager Rick Renteria went to the lone left-hander on his bench, Rob Brantly, but the backup backstop struck out swinging to end the game, giving Allen his 24th save of the season.
Bauer earned his American League leading 15th win behind his quality outing. He worked six and one-third innings, allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. He has now won eight straight decisions and has lost just one game in the second half, his first outing after the All-Star break.
Shields fell to 2-6 with the loss. He left after the liner off of his knee with six and one-third innings worked on the afternoon. He gave up four runs on six hits, walked a pair, and struck out five.
Diaz extended his hitting streak to seven straight with his second inning double. Perez now has hit in ten straight and reached safely in 13 in a row after his two-hit game Monday, started by his second inning RBI-single that scored Diaz.
Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.30 ERA) will be activated from the disabled list by the Indians on Tuesday to make the start against Chicago in game two of the four-game set. He is expected to be on a pitch count in his first start since getting hit up for six runs on a season-high 12 hits over four and two-thirds innings on August 20 against Kansas City. Left-hander David Holmberg (2-3, 3.55) will return to the rotation for the White Sox to make his first start since June 26. He earned his lone win of the season in a starting role against the Indians back on June 10, when he allowed two runs on three hits in five innings of work.
First pitch from Guaranteed Rate Field is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET Tuesday night.
Photo: Jon Durr/Getty Images