Another day, another costly error, another loss that could have easily been a win.
It’s a storyline that’s been played out all too many times in the first two months of the Indians’ season. While Monday was a holiday, it wasn’t anything special for the Tribe who made their 53rd error in 52 games. Lonnie Chisenhall’s third inning fielding error could have ended the inning, but instead it ignited a rally and three-run homer by Dayan Viciedo. Viciedo’s bomb gave Chicago the lead and they never looked back, winning the Memorial Day game 6-2, squandering another solid start by Josh Tomlin.
Tomlin was tagged for five runs in five innings, however it wasn’t until the start of the sixth inning that the gritty right-hander was charged with an earned run. To add injury to insult, it appears Nick Swisher may have re-aggravated his ailing knee and could find himself headed for the 15-day disabled list.
Cleveland took an early lead in the top of the third inning off White Sox starter, left-hander, Jose Quintana. Chisenhall started the inning with a walk and Justin Sellers singled to center field to start the rally. After Michael Bourn and Mike Aviles each struck out, Michael Brantley singled left to bring Chisenhall around and stake the Tribe to an early 1-0 lead.
But the lead would be short-lived, due to their continued poor defensive effort. Tomlin had allowed just one hit in the first two and two-third innings and had two out with no one on in the third inning when Marcus Semien grounded to third base. Chisenhall’s played back on the ball and it squirted past he and Sellers backing up the play. Chisenhall’s eighth error in just 21 games at third base would be a costly one. Connor Gillaspie singled to right field to put two on base before Viciedo hit a three-run homer to left field. Viciedo’s fifth home run of the game made it 3-1, Chicago.
It was all Quintana would need for run support. After the White Sox took the lead, he bore down and retired the next six of seven he faced. Cleveland did tally a run in his final frame, the top of the sixth. Brantley walked and was able to score on Ryan Raburn’s base hit as he tried to stretch it into a double. It appeared Raburn was safe–and the Indians challenged–but the call was not overturned. Brantley’s run cut it to 3-2 and ended Quintana’s afternoon after six innings. The White Sox southpaw allowed two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five Indians.
Tomlin started the sixth inning for Cleveland, but would not last long. Gillaspie singled and Viciedo doubled to put a pair of runners in scoring position with no one out. Indians manager Terry Francona was left with little choice but to remove Tomlin in favor of Josh Outman. Outman struck out Adam Dunn for the first out of the inning.
Francona went back to the bullpen for Bryan Shaw, the American League’s co-leader in appearances, but Shaw was ineffective. Alexei Ramirez singled to right field and Alejandro De Aza singled to center field to each plate a run and extend Chicago’s lead to 5-2. Both runs were charged to Tomlin, crediting him with five innings pitched, allowing five runs—just two earned—on five hits and a walk, while striking out eight. It was a quality effort from Tomlin had his defense supported him. Shaw, meanwhile, did not appear sharp, a product of possibly being overworked.
Jake Petricka took over for the White Sox, working a scoreless seventh inning. Marc Rzepczynski tied Shaw for the league lead in appearances and looked equally as mediocre in the Memorial Day sun. Chicago extended their lead to 6-2 when Semien singled and Gillaspie doubled to right field to score him all the way from first base. Gillaspie was 4-for-4, with three doubles and a run batted in on the afternoon. Carlos Carrasco came on to pitch the final two outs of the seventh inning and the final frame in the eighth.
Cleveland had one last chance to try and crawl back into the game in the top of the eighth inning. Trailing 6-2, with Zach Putnam on the mound for Chicago, the Indians got one-out base hits from Aviles and Brantley. After Asdrubal Cabrera struck out, Raburn reached safely on an infield hit to shortstop. David Murphy was forced to pinch-hit for Nick Swisher and Chicago countered with left-hander Scott Downs. Downs struck out Murphy on a questionable call to end the inning.
Swisher appeared to strain his already injured knee in the sixth inning, running out a ground ball to first base. Swisher missed Friday and Saturday’s games in Baltimore and could be forced out of the lineup again if the injury persists.
Downs worked the ninth inning, working around a two-out walk, and set the Tribe down with little drama. Cleveland managed eight hits on the afternoon, but left eight men on base. The Indians are now just 9-17 on the road and four games under .500 for the season.
Cleveland will try to get back on the winning ways Tuesday night with Justin Masterson (2-3, 5.32) on the mound. It will be a tough task, however, as Chicago will counter with their ace, left-hander Chris Sale (4-0, 1.89).
Photo: Paul Beaty/AP Photo