Not-So-Timely Hitting Dooms Tribe in Matinee; White Sox 3, Indians 2

For 13 innings, White Sox starter Jose Quintana was an enigma the Indians batters could not figure out. When the two teams played on Apr. 12, Quintana shut the Tribe out for eight innings before his bullpen allowed a 1-0 defeat.

Quintana was again masterful through the first five frames of Wednesday afternoon’s game.  Cleveland finally got to him for a pair of runs in the sixth. However, this time, the Indians could not figure out Chicago’s relievers. The Sox bullpen shout out the Tribe for four innings as Cleveland fell at U.S. Cellular Field, 3-2. The AL Central Division rivals split the rain-shortened, two-game series.

The Indians, who dropped to 8-11, fell behind early and never could quite catch up despite having several scoring opportunities.

Chicago took advantage of its first chance to plate a run in the first. Jeff Keppinger delivered an RBI single off Tribe starter Zach McAllister.

McAllister (1-3, 3.52 ERA), struggled with his command in issuing five walks.  He also allowed Chicago to get runners in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings. He managed to work around all of that. At least he did, until the fifth inning. That is when Alex Rios touched up the Cleveland hurler for a two-run home run and a 3-0 White Sox edge.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona said the bomb was just a mistake pitch as McAllister was pitching well to Rios up to that point.

“(McAllister) got ahead of him,” Francona said. “It was just a fastball that came across the wrong part of the plate.”

That would be all Chicago would manage off the Tribe starter, who finished with a decent outing. He went 5.2 innings, allowing the three runs and striking out four. Francona said he was happy with the effort of his second-year starter.

“He dodged some traffic, especially early,” the Cleveland skipper said. “Because of his use of the fastball, he keeps guys off the scoreboard.”

The Indians finally got to Quintana in the sixth inning. Drew Stubbs led of the stanza with a walk. Back-to-back singles from Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis put the first tally on the board and ended Quintana’s day. For Kipnis it was just his second hit in 15 at bats with runners in scoring position this year.

Nate Jones relieved and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Mark Reynolds. It drew Cleveland to within a run. However, that was the only flaw in the armor of Chicago’s bullpen. The Indians did not get a base runner against the White Sox relief staff until a Mike Aviles single with two out in the ninth.

The low score for the Indians could have been better with some timely hitting. The Tribe loaded the bases with just one down in the fifth. However, Ryan Raburn let Quintana off the hook with an inning-ending double play. In Cleveland’s run-scoring sixth, it could have been more. Kipnis actually stole both second and third, 90 feet from home plate with one away. However, Nick Swisher and Raburn both struck out to end the threat.

Despite finally reaching home a couple times against Quintana, the Indians struggles against the Chicago starter were still key in the White Sox victory. Francona had an easy time explaining what makes him so hard on the Tribe bats.

“He’s confident,” Francona said of Quintana. “You can tell he’s pitching with confidence. He changes speeds, he uses the whole plate (and) he has that cutter. When you get in a situation to take advantage of, he gets you a little aggressive.”

The Indians will have an off day tomorrow before hitting Kansas City for a four-game series, beginning Friday night. The weekend set will kick off at 8:10 with Scott Kazmir (0-0, 16.20 ERA) expected to take the mound for the Tribe against Ervin Santana (2-1, 2.48 ERA).

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

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