Two Out Hits Push Tribe Past Sox; Indians 3, White Sox 2

This game was a game of patience. Both teams seemed poised and collected at the plate, waiting for their pitches and making the pitchers work but it was the Indians who took advantage of their opportunities the best and earned a 3-2 victory.

It seemed clear coming into this game that both teams were willing to give the starting pitchers a chance to work themselves into trouble with walks and then try to take advantage. Both starting pitchers, Justin Masterson and Dylan Axelrod, struggled to find the strike zone consistently producing heavy pitch counts and walks that led to runs.

The first inning produced a scoreless inning, with the Indians having a one-two-three inning from Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera. The White Sox had a chance after a one out single from Jeff Keppinger was followed by an Alex Rios walk but the chance was stopped by an Adam Dunn pop up and Paul Konerko strike out.

The second inning gave the Indians their first run of the game. After a leadoff pop fly from Nick Swisher, Jason Giambi hit a bloop single to right field that was followed by a seven pitch strike out from Carlos Santana leading into a eight pitch walk from Mark Reynolds. That walk gave Lonnie Chisenhall the chance to drive home Giambi with a double to left field. The Indians however did strand Reynolds and Chisenhall after Reynolds got caught in a run down between third and home on a Drew Stubbs dribbler down the left field line.

The White Sox however quickly responded in the bottom of the second, as Connor Gillaspie took the second pitch of the inning deep for a solo home run to tie the game 1-1. Masterson seemed to struggle his way through the second inning as he took 23 pitches, including a five-pitch walk to Hector Gimenez, to get out of the second inning.

Patience finally paid off for the White Sox in the forth inning as Gillapie walked and was moved to second by a Ramirez fielders choice and driven in when Gimenez doubled to make the score 2-1, Chicago.

It looked like the White Sox had a chance to blow this game open in the bottom of the seventh inning after Masterson hit Gimenez, who was replaced by a pinch runner Blake Tekotte. Masterson then walked Danks creating a no outs, men on first and second situation. The next batter, De Aza, attempted to bunt the runners to second and third, only to have Masterson throw a ball high which he was unable to hit. Santana threw behind the base and found Tekotte was too far off second and picked him off with a perfect throw. The very next pitch Masterson got a groundball double play ball to end the inning and dash the rally.

After the great end to the seventh inning the Indians finally capitalized on their patience at the plate. The White Sox sent Matt Thornton to the mound to pitch the seventh inning, who came in and got Chisenhall to ground out to start the inning.  Stubbs reached on a one out single after fouling off three straight pitches. He quickly used his speed on the base path to steal second on a 2-0 count to Brantley. Thornton struggled to throw accurately as he walked Brantley.

During the next at bat against Kipnis, Thornton threw the ball into the outfield while trying to pick off Stubbs from second base. Both Brantley and Stubbs were able to advance to second and third before Kipnis struck out. This created the chance for Cabrera to hit a first pitch single to center driving in the runners and giving the Indians a 3-2 lead. Cabrera stole second leading the White Sox to intentionally walk Swisher before Giambi popped up in foul ground for out number three.

The bottom of the eighth inning went exactly as Indians fan expect it to go with Vinnie Pestano coming in and getting a one-two-three inning, including a strike out of Dunn to end the inning.

Indians offense couldn’t add any more runs in the ninth despite a two out single from Chisenhall. Chris Perez came in for Tribe to close the game out. Perez started the ninth by striking out Konerko on a perfect strike three looking. He gave up a single to Gillaspie then giving up a deep foul ball to Ramirez that almost ended the game before getting Ramirez to pop up in foul ground and retiring Tyler Flowers to ground out to Chisenhall to end the game.

The victory goes to Masterson (4-1, 1.85 ERA) ending with fours hits, four walks, five strikeouts, and seven innings pitched. Perez earned the save (1.29 ERA), his third of the year. The loss goes to Thornton (0-1, 4.76 ERA).

The Indians will play tomorrow night against at 8:10 ET with Zach McAllister (1-2, 3.12 ERA) expected to start for the Tribe tomorrow and Jose Quintana (1-0, 2.55 ERA) expected to start for the White Sox.

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

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