Everyone loves being on the top of the see-saw, it’s the crash down that hurts.
For the first half of the game it looked like the Indians were destined for the crash in a see-saw battle, but despite starting pitcher Corey Kluber not having his best stuff, the Indians were able to break out with a three-run fifth inning and spring to a 7-4 victory. The big inning was triggered by a key managerial challenge. The overturned stolen base by Asdrubal Cabrera continued the inning for the offensive damage to be done.
The White Sox jumped on top of Kluber and the Indians in the top of the second inning. With one out Conor Gillaspie hit a ground rule double to start the Chicago threat and Alejandro De Aza singled to right field to put runners on the corners. Adrian Nieto got the White Sox on the board with a double to left field. The double scored Gillaspie and when Leury Garcia grounded to first base, De Aza was able to score and make it 2-0 Chicago.
Cleveland answered back with a little two-out thunder in the bottom of the second against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. Nick Swisher singled with two outs and came around to score on David Murphy’s two-run blast into the right field seats. Murphy’s sixth home run of the season tied the game at 2-2.
Chicago was able to retake the lead in top of the fourth inning when Nieto singled to start the inning. Garcia grounded into a fielder’s choice before Adam Eaton doubled over Chris Dickerson’s head and gave the White Sox the lead again. Garcia scored all the way from first base and Chicago lead again, 3-2.
But just like in the second inning, the Tribe answered right back in the fourth inning. Carlos Santana walked and Lonnie Chisenhall singled to right field to put a pair on with no one out. The inning quickly turned, however, when Swisher struck out and Murphy grounded into a fielder’s choice. With two outs, and still not a run in, Yan Gomes walked to load the bases before Dickerson earned a four-pitch walk to force in a run and tie the game. Cleveland was able to tie the game with just one hit in the inning, had they logged another hit, they could have registered a big inning.
The game was not tied long though, as Adam Dunn crushed a solo home run off Kluber to open the fifth inning. Dunn’s 14th home run of the season gave Chicago a new lead, now 4-3.
Again, the Tribe battled back and this time they put up the big inning that was a possibility the frame before. Cabrera reached safely on a bunt single to start the frame. After Michael Brantley lined out and Santana struck out, Cabrera appeared to be thrown out trying to steal second base. However, Indians manager Terry Francona challenged the play and he it was overturned. The challenge paid dividends as Chisenhall singled Cabrera home to tie the game. Swisher then provided the pop with a long home run to center field, making it 6-4, staking the Tribe to their first lead of the night. It was Swisher’s eighth home run of the season.
Noesi was chased from the game after Swisher’s home run. He lasted just four and two-third innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four. Andre Rienzo took over and pitched one and one-third scoreless innings of relief for Chicago.
The happy end of the seesaw, Kluber (9-6), survived six, up and down innings without his best stuff. The Tribe’s best pitcher in the first half, and All-Star snub, pitched six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five. It’s likely Kluber will open the second half of the season on Friday.
John Axford worked a scoreless seventh inning before the Tribe finally got to Rienzo in relief. Brantley started the bottom of the seventh with a single and raced all the way around from first base on Santana’s double into the right field corner and gave the Tribe a 7-4 lead.
Bryan Shaw worked a scoreless eighth inning before Cody Allen came on and locked down his 11th save of the season. Cleveland pounded out 10 hits, paced by a pair from Cabrera, Chisenhall and Swisher. Bigger than Cabrera’s hits may have been his challenged play at second base that opened up the big inning in the fifth for the Tribe. The win gets the Tribe back to .500 for the first time since June 20.
Saturday the Indians will look to continue their hot hitting. Zach McAllister (3-4, 5.89) makes his first start in six weeks for the Indians. McAllister was on the disabled list and then optioned to Triple-A. He’ll be opposed by the White Sox Scott Carroll (3-5, 4.52).
Photo: Mark Duncan/AP Photo