Wild Day in the Windy City goes to Indians; Indians 12, White Sox 6

With the winds howling on Chicago’s South Side, pitching seemed like an optional part of the baseball game at US Cellular Field on Saturday, as the Indians (6-6) defeated the White Sox (6-6) by a score of 12-6.  The Tribe got back to their winning ways against the ChiSox, as the Tribe had dropped the first two of this four game series after posting a remarkable 17-2 overall record against them in 2013.

The pitching matchup for the game featured the Indians Opening Day starter Justin Masterson (0-0, 5.87) against right-hander Felipe Paulino (0-1, 7.98).  Neither starter was effective, nor qualified for a decision by the time the game had ended over 3.5 hours later.  Facing Paulino marked the first time in the last five games that the Indians had faced a right handed pitcher.

The offense started early and scored often as the Tribe’s leadoff batter, Nyjer Morgan, scorched the fifth pitch of the ballgame up the middle for a single.  He was picked off of first base by Paulino, but the call was overturned on a challenge by Manager Terry Francona.  The bases eventually loaded on back to back walks by Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana and then Michael Brantley drove home the first two runs of the ballgame with a single into the right-centerfield gap.  The Indians then plated a third run in the inning on a fielder’s choice RBI by Asdrubal Cabrera.

The initial lead did not last long, as the White Sox came right back off of Masterson in the bottom half of the first.  After Adam Eaton walked to lead off the frame, Leury Garcia tapped a potential double play ball to Mike Aviles at third, but Aviles’ throw sailed into right field for an error that put runners at the corners with nobody out.  Conor Gillaspie continued the Sox rally by singling into left to plate Eaton and was followed by a walk to Jose Abreu and then a two-RBI single to Adam Dunn to tie the game at 3-3.  Two batters later, Abreu was brought home on a single to right by Alejandro De Aza.

The Indians replied to retie the game at 4-4 on a leadoff homerun off of the right field foul pole by David Murphy in the second—his second of the season—but the Sox were able to match the feat when Eaton smacked the first pitch of the bottom half of the second into the right field seats as well.  From there both pitchers settled in a bit, although the good pitching was only temporary.

After both teams tossed up zeroes in the third and the fourth innings, the Tribe bats came back to life in the fifth.  Nick Swisher tied the game at 5-5 when he found the jet stream that carried his second homer of the season to right and he was followed immediately by Kipnis, who golfed a 3-1 pitch down the line and around the right field pole for his second blast of the year as well.  With the back-to-back homers, the Indians held a 6-5 advantage, but once again Masterson was unable to hold down the Pale Hose.

Dunn led off the bottom half of the fifth by getting plunked in the foot by a Masterson slider and he moved to second on a single up the middle by Alexei Ramirez.  The bases then loaded up with nobody out when De Aza lined a single off of the glove of a drawn in Swisher at first, but Masterson nearly escaped the threat with no damage.

Adrian Nieto tapped a little nubber in front of the plate that Santana was able to cover and tag the plate for the first out and then Jordan Danks smashed a grounder to Swisher over at first.  Swish tagged the bag and came home with the ball to try for an inning-ending double play, but Santana missed the tag on Ramirez at the plate and the game was knotted up once more.  The play at the plate ended the day for Masterson, who struggled through 4.2 innings allowing six runs, five of which were earned.  The Tribe ace also allowed seven hits and five walks, but he did strike out seven White Sox in the process.

The Tribe fought back and took the lead for good in the top of the seventh, as a single by Swisher and then walks by Santana and Brantley loaded the bases with one out.  After Cabrera popped out, Ryan Raburn came through with a two-out single up the middle to plate the Indians seventh and eighth runs.  With an 8-6 lead intact, the Tribe then took over the game.

With the bullpen throwing up goose-eggs, the Indians offense blew the game open in the top of the ninth.  A walk to Brantley, followed by a Cabrera double and an intentional walk of Raburn loaded the bases with one out off of Donnie Veal and Murphy brought them all around to score with a triple the following at bat.  Just to pile-on, Aviles singled to into right, scoring Murphy to push the Tribe’s lead to it’s final of 12-6.

Josh Outman (2-0, 1.69), who came in relief of Masterson, worked 1.1 scoreless innings for the victory and Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and John Axford each worked scoreless frames to slam the victory shut.

The series is scheduled to conclude on Sunday at 2:10pm as Corey Kluber (1-1, 7.71) will take on lefty Jose Quintana (1-0, 2.77).  The game can be seen locally on Fox Sports/SportsTime Ohio and can be heard on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.

Photo: Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo

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