Clevinger K’s 11, Ramirez’s Homer Breaks Late Tie for Tribe; Indians 5, Sox 2
Bob Toth | On 14, Jun 2018
The Cleveland Indians wrapped up the final game of their road trip with a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon, bringing the club back home with a series split and a 4-3 record during their most recent seven games away from home.
It was a united team effort from the Indians in the finale of four straight from Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday that gave the Tribe a needed victory. Strong starting pitching from Mike Clevinger, a leadoff homer from Francisco Lindor, a go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh from Jose Ramirez, and excellent work out of the bullpen gave Cleveland (36-31) a 5-2 edge in the season series with Chicago (24-43).
The Indians remain four and a half games up in the American League Central with the win, as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Minnesota Twins by a 3-1 final earlier in the day.
Both clubs scored early, but it would be the late runs that would make the difference for the Tribe against tough left-hander Carlos Rodon and a strong Sox bullpen of late.
Lindor greeted Rodon the hard way, sending the third pitch of the game into the left field seats for a leadoff home run to give the Indians the early 1-0 lead. That advantage would be short-lived for the Tribe, however, as the White Sox got to Clevinger for a pair of runs to take the lead. Yolmer Sanchez reached on an error by Erik Gonzalez at second to start the home half, but after a strikeout by Jose Rondon, Jose Abreu took a fastball the opposite way to right for a two-run shot, giving the Sox a 2-1 edge.
The Indians stranded a pair in the second, but came through with another run in the third to tie the game. After Lindor popped up to start the inning, Rajai Davis walked. Ramirez flied to left for the second out before Davis stole second and Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk. Brandon Guyer, back in the lineup after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, reached base in his second straight appearance as he was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Yan Gomes, who worked a walk on a 3-2 changeup low to force in the tying run of the contest.
Clevinger worked a stretch of eight straight Sox batters retired with a pair of strikeouts in both the second and third innings before giving up a single to Kevan Smith with one down in the fourth. Clevinger responded with a strikeout of Matt Davidson before Charlie Tilson was given first base on catcher’s interference. Undeterred, Clevinger worked out of the jam by striking out Adam Engel swinging. He put two more on in the fifth on a leadoff single by Trayce Thompson (who would be caught stealing) and a walk by Sanchez, but Clevinger responded with another pair of strikeouts, setting down Rondon and Abreu swinging.
Rodon seemed to wake up after the bases loaded walk, retiring seven straight Indians hitters to end his outing after five. Chris Volstad came on in the sixth and got the first batter before Gomes doubled to left, putting him on base in his third straight trip to the plate. He would advance to third on a groundout by Yonder Alonso, but moved no further as Gonzalez ended the inning with a grounder to short.
Clevinger worked a clean bottom of the sixth, getting two outs on the ground before a strikeout looking of Davidson.
Volstad returned in the seventh, looking to continue a long shutout streak by the White Sox bullpen. He would be unable to do so in his second frame, as after a groundout by Greg Allen, Lindor singled to center. Davis popped out for the second out before Lindor stole second, but the swiped bag would prove inconsequential as Ramirez slammed a sinker over the wall in right for a tie-breaking two-out two-run home run to put the Indians back on top 4-2 for the first time since the third batter of the bottom of the first.
Clevinger finished his outing with a scoreless seventh, now in line for the win, getting a double play liner off of the bat of Engel that caught Tilson napping at first base. He ended his outing with a strikeout of Thompson, giving him a career-high 11 Ks on the afternoon.
The Indians added another run in the top of the eighth. Gomes walked with one out and Gonzalez singled with two down off of Juan Minaya. Allen reached safely on a grounder to first as the feed at the bag was dropped by the Sox pitcher, allowing Gomes to score to put the Indians up by three.
Neil Ramirez took over for the bottom half and got two outs in the air before giving up a two-out single to Abreu. Oliver Perez came on to pitch to pinch-hitter Tim Anderson, who struck out swinging. Cody Allen handled the ninth, striking out Smith and Davidson before a single by Tilson. He moved to second on indifference and third on a wild pitch, but it would not matter as Allen struck out his third batter of the inning, getting Engel hacking to end it.
Clevinger moved to 5-2 on the year with the win. He worked seven innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits with a walk and 11 strikeouts. He threw 71 of 100 pitches for strikes. Ramirez (fourth) and Perez (second) earned holds, while Allen recorded his 13th save of the year.
Rodon took a no-decision in his second start back from offseason surgery. He lasted five innings, allowing two runs on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He threw 59 of 100 pitches for strikes. Volstad took the loss, his fourth of the year, after allowing two runs on three hits with a strikeout in two innings.
Prior to the game, the Indians designated 33-year-old outfielder Melky Cabrera for assignment to make room for the activated Guyer. Cabrera had hit .207/.242/.293 in 17 games with five doubles and eleven runs batted in in limited action over the last month.
The Indians will return home for an extended stay for once, as they will kick off a nine-game homestand this Friday night when the Minnesota Twins come to town. The White Sox will return to Progressive Field next week for a three-game series beginning Monday night, and the Tigers will make an appearance next weekend for three straight to conclude the home cooking.
Corey Kluber will start game one of the series with the Twins, looking for his American League-leading eleventh win of the year.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images