Derek Holland‘s dominance of the Indians throughout his career continued on Wednesday night as he brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning and the White Sox bullpen held off a late Tribe threat as Chicago defeated Cleveland, 2-1.
After spending his entire career with the Texas Rangers, the lefty Holland relocated to the Windy City in the offseason on a one-year, $6 million deal. It looks to be a move that could prolong his career nicely, as he should have a few more opportunities than usual to pitch against the Indians this season.
On a chilly night at Progressive Field, fans were treated to a well-pitched ball game on both sides, as a quality effort from Danny Salazar went to the wayside with one second inning swing.
After an eleven-pitch first inning, Salazar walked the leadoff hitter Cody Asche to start the second. A ground-rule double to right by Avisail Garcia put two in scoring position and Matt Davidson, who was inserted into the lineup when Todd Frazier was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms, delivered with a single to left that dropped in front of Michael Brantley. Both runners scored on the play and Davidson moved to second on the throw as the White Sox took a quick 2-0 lead. Salazar would get out of the jam, but it took some work after a fly out and a hit by pitch put runners on the corners with one down. Salazar struck out Tyler Saladino after several balls fouled off and catcher Roberto Perez gunned down Leury Garcia attempting to steal second base.
Cleveland had its first scoring opportunity in the bottom of the inning, as Edwin Encarnacion reached on catcher’s interference and Jose Ramirez walked, but strikeouts by Brandon Guyer and Yandy Diaz and a grounder to second by Perez ended the frame.
After Salazar worked around another two on, two out situation in the third, the Indians got a leadoff walk from Austin Jackson, but he would be stranded at first on three outs in the air by Holland.
The Tribe starter kept the game close, striking out the side in the sixth to give him four consecutive strikeouts to end his evening. Holland returned for the bottom half with a no-hitter in tow, but the leadoff man Francisco Lindor doubled to left-center to end the team’s hitting drought. He would be joined on the bases one out later after an Encarnacion walk, but the team was once again unable to do anything with runners on base.
Holland exited after the sixth and former Indians reliever Anthony Swarzak struck out a pair in a scoreless seventh. The Indians would find the plate in the eighth, however, as hard-throwing reliever Nate Jones came on and gave up a pair of hits to start the inning as Carlos Santana reached on a single knocked down by Jose Abreu at first base and Lindor doubled off of the auxiliary scoreboard in the left field wall. With two in scoring position and nobody out, Tuesday’s hero Brantley sent Santana home with a weak grounder to Abreu for the first out. Encarnacion went down swinging for the second out and Ramirez grounded sharply to the Sox first baseman to leave the tying run 90 feet from the plate.
David Robertson entered for his first save opportunity in the ninth and made easy work of the Tribe, getting a groundout from pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte before strikeouts by Diaz and Perez to end the contest.
The Indians dropped to 4-4 with the loss and could not work the late inning magic that earned the club a walk-off win the night before in the team’s home opener. The White Sox improved to 3-4 on the young season and 1-1 away from home.
HOLLAND OWNS TRIBE AGAIN
Holland has excelled throughout his entire career when pitching against the Indians and has even better numbers at Progressive Field. Another strong start against Cleveland did nothing to hurt those career results on Wednesday as he improved to 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA against the Indians and 4-0 with a 1.02 ERA in five starts at Progressive Field.
The Ohio native took his no-hitter into the sixth inning and exited after the frame after allowing just one hit on the night. He walked four, the lone blemish on his otherwise solid stat sheet, and struck out four over his six scoreless frames.
SALAZAR SUFFERS TOUGH LOSS
Salazar did everything in his power to give the Indians a chance to come back on the cool Cleveland night, but he suffered the tough-luck loss as his offensive mates could not figure out Holland or the White Sox bullpen.
He went six innings, giving up just the two second inning runs over four hits and a pair of walks. After striking out nine in his first start of the season against Texas, he topped that with eleven on Wednesday night, a mark that matched his career-high (now achieved four times).
The right-hander rode the changeup all night long, throwing it 44 times out of his 106 pitches in the contest.
BRANTLEY STEPS UP LATE
While Brantley did not hit the ball hard on his RBI-groundout in the eighth, he hit it hard enough to drive in a big run for the Tribe in their comeback attempt. He is now 3-for-8 hitting in the seventh inning or later with a double and four RBI on the season.
After Davidson’s two-run single in the second, he was shut down the rest of the night, striking out in each of his final three at bats in the contest.
The rookie Diaz saw his modest three-game hitting streak come to an end on Wednesday with an 0-for-3 day at the plate with three strikeouts. The 25-year-old third baseman is hitting just .200 to start the season with nine strikeouts, six hits, and two walks.
Kipnis got the start at second and was in the second spot in the lineup but, in the bottom of the first inning, he was hit on the hand by former Indians prospect Justus Sheffield. He remained in the game for a short while but left for precautionary reasons in the bottom of the third inning. An update on his condition was not available at the time of this story.
Chisenhall started in center field for the ‘Ducks and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He was replaced in the top of the seventh by Ivan Castillo.
With the series knotted up at one game apiece, the Indians and White Sox will meet in the series finale on Thursday night with a 6:10 PM ET first pitch.
Veteran right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will take the ball for the White Sox, who will look to win their first series of the 2017 season. The 32-year-old has put up good numbers in his career against Cleveland, posting a 4-1 record with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP in six games. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (0-1, 11.57) will counter for Cleveland. He will look to bounce back after bad numbers in his home state of Texas, where he allowed six runs on seven hits in just four and two-thirds innings. He held Chicago in check last season, going 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP in his three starts against them.
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