It may no longer be the dog days of summer, but Cleveland’s boys of summer gave one to the dogs on Tuesday as the Indians were stunned by a seven-run onslaught in the sixth in an 8-1 loss in Chicago to the White Sox.
In front of 1,122 dogs, their subservient humans, and a handful of other unleashed baseball fans, the White Sox unleashed a hurting on Indians starter Trevor Bauer after he had shut down 12 straight and 13 of 14 as the game quickly ran away from the Tribe.
The score was tied 1-1 after two innings. The White Sox struck for a run in the bottom of the first as the pesky Adam Eaton singled off of Bauer, moved to second on a sacrifice, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a two-out base knock by Jose Abreu for the early lead. Brandon Guyer’s homer to left with one down in the top of the second off of Chicago starter Jose Quintana evened things up.
Bauer locked in after the clutch hit from Abreu, retiring 12 straight Sox hitters before plunking Carlos Sanchez with two outs in the fifth. The lefty Quintana was nearly as effective for the Sox, retiring six straight after the two-out double by Roberto Perez in the second before hitting Guyer with a pitch. He sat down three more before Jason Kipnis doubled with two outs in the fifth and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Francisco Lindor could not drive him home.
The impressive run from Bauer ended suddenly and dramatically in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff walk to Eaton. An aggressive display from the White Sox began as Tim Anderson and Melky Cabrera both jumped on first pitches, singling to load the bases. Abreu came through again with a big hit, driving in a run with a single to center to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.
Bauer got a big strikeout of Alex Avila swinging, but Todd Frazier drove his first pitch back up the middle for a two-run single, ending Bauer’s night and breaking the game open at 4-1. Dan Otero came on in relief and was not his usual effective self, giving up a single to Avisail Garcia to plate another run before a first-pitch triple to right by Sanchez to drive home two more runs. After a groundout from Tyler Saladino, Eaton doubled over the wall in right to make it 8-1 while forcing manager Terry Francona to go to his third reliever of the inning. The eleventh man to bat, Anderson, drew a walk off of Joe Colon before Cabrera grounded out to end the disastrous inning for the Tribe.
Deflated, Cleveland could do nothing the rest of the way. Quintana retired the final six batters that he faced in order before Chris Beck came on for the ninth, getting a pair of outs before a two-out infield single from Jose Ramirez. Tyler Naquin struck out chasing a high pitch to end the ball game.
JUST LIKE MAGIC
While the loss may have been frustrating for the manner in which it happened, it could have been more damaging. Instead, the Cleveland (83-61) loss coupled with a similar 8-1 loss by the Tigers in Detroit to the Minnesota Twins kept the Indians lead in the division at six games while reducing their magic number to 13 games to clinch the AL Central.
The White Sox (70-74) continued their climb towards the .500 mark with their 70th win of the season while earning their 40th win at home.
QUINTANA HAS THE RUNS
Quintana (12-10, 3.05 ERA) may have been the most confused person at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday.
Through the first five innings, it was a usual start for the southpaw – despite a strong pitching performance, he and the team had nothing to show for it. All changed after the slaughter in the sixth and the Sox got him his magic number of five runs. He improved to 18-0 when given five runs or more of support on the mound.
Quintana was good all on his own, lasting eight innings while allowing just one run on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
SOX BAFFLED, THEN BEAT UP BAUER
The sixth inning was a prime example of why the game of baseball can be a bizarre and fickle beast.
Bauer (11-7, 4.06 ERA) was cruising through the game, having allowed just one run through the first five innings. The walk of Eaton seemed to set the tone for the sixth, however, and the Sox seemed to perfectly place baseballs around the diamond. He left with five and one-third innings in the books and after Otero allowed his inherited runs to score, Bauer was officially charged with six runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out seven in a Jeckyll and Hyde performance.
“I feel like I didn’t deserve to have that happen,” said Bauer after the game. “That’s as good as I’ve been in months.”
DOGS HAVE A RECORD DAY
The 1,122 dogs in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday was a record crowd at a sporting event by canines. Representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records were on hand to validate the feat.
HIT THAT GUYER
Guyer, who was plunked by Quintana in his first at bat after hitting a home run in the second, registered his 30th hit by pitch of the season. It is six greater than the career-high 24 times he was hit last season and is eight more than the next closest player in the Majors and more than double the next closest AL hitter, Eaton (14).
Only Don Baylor‘s 35 in 1986 with the Boston Red Sox is higher than Guyer’s 30 on the American League’s all-time hit-by-pitch list.
GOMES GETTING CLOSER
Injured Indians catcher Yan Gomes is getting closer to his return at the end of the week and proved it on the field with the Double-A RubberDucks on Tuesday in their playoff game with the Trenton Thunder in Akron. He caught all nine innings of the contest and was 2-for-4 at the plate.
TIME TO SHINE
Josh Tomlin (11-8, 4.85) makes his return to the Tribe rotation in his first start since August 30 on Wednesday night as the Indians will call upon him to work his former stopper magic to end their two-game losing skid. Chicago will start left-hander Carlos Rodon (7-8, 3.80), who has thrown seven consecutive quality starts and is 3-0 in seven appearances in his career against the Indians.
First pitch from U.S. Cellular Field is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images