Danny Salazar provided a second straight strong quality start for the Indians and the offense, led by three RBI and four runs in a four-hit game from Jose Ramirez, backed him up with plenty of support as Cleveland defeated the Chicago White Sox by a 9-3 final from Guaranteed Rate Field.
With contending teams desperately scouring the trade market for pricey upgrades to their starting rotations, the Indians may have found one sitting on the disabled list as Salazar once again contained an opposing offense in his second straight start since returned from a right shoulder strain. His teammates were able to do something that they had never done effectively with left-hander Derek Holland on the mound – run up the score.
It was Ramirez who came through in the second after the Indians missed out on a first inning scoring chance against Holland when singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley were wasted on a double play groundout by Edwin Encarnacion. Three pitches into the second, Ramirez sent an offering from Holland over the wall in left to give the Indians a one-run lead.
The Indians got a big two-out hit in the fourth to expand on their lead. Ramirez again was the firestarter, hitting a single with one out before moving to second on a walk by Austin Jackson. Brandon Guyer flied to right, moving Ramirez to third, before a single by Yan Gomes drove him home to make it 2-0 Indians.
Chicago remained hitless through the first four innings against Salazar and Cleveland sent nine men to the plate in the fifth. Carlos Santana started the inning with a single to center. Lindor followed with a single and both men moved up on a wild pitch by Holland before a groundout by Brantley for the first out. Encarnacion was intentionally walked to bring Ramirez to the plate and the Tribe All-Star made the White Sox pay for the decision with a two-run single to left to score Santana and Lindor to make it a 4-0 game. Jackson walked to reload the bases and Guyer worked a walk of his own, forcing in the fifth run of the game to end Holland’s night. Chris Beck entered in relief and gave up an RBI-single to Ramirez to extend the Indians’ lead to 6-0 before Giovanny Urshela grounded into an inning ending double play.
Omar Narvaez singled with one out in the fifth to record the first hit off of Salazar on the night. Alen Hanson followed with a single of his own, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the brief White Sox rally.
Santana made it a 7-0 game with a leadoff homer in the sixth off of Beck. The Indians added another in the seventh after a leadoff single from Ramirez and a one-out single by Guyer. After a foul out by Gomes, Urshela doubled to right to put the Indians up by eight.
The White Sox got on the board in the seventh against Salazar. The Tribe right-hander walked rookie Yoan Moncada to start the inning before Matt Davidson cleared the wall for the 20th time this season. The two-run shot made it an 8-2 game and ended the night for Salazar.
Brantley homered for the third time since the All-Star break with one down in the eighth to push the Indians lead back to seven at 9-2.
Nick Goody allowed the White Sox to get a run closer in the bottom of the eighth in their last big threat. Adam Engel reached on a throwing error by Erik Gonzalez to start the inning. He moved to third one out later on a single by Melky Cabrera. After a strikeout by Jose Abreu, Moncada doubled to right to plate the Sox’s third run of the night, but Goody would work out of the jam.
The Sox would load the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to score against a six-run deficit. A leadoff single and back-to-back two-out walks loaded the bases, but Abreu grounded back to the mound to end it.
The Indians (56-45) got six-plus innings from Salazar, who allowed two runs on three hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts in earning his fourth win of the season. Holland took his tenth loss for the White Sox in his worst start against the Indians, lasting four and one-third innings while giving up six runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.
The Cleveland offense accomplished a rare feat in baseball these days. In 46 plate appearances against White Sox pitching, no Indians player struck out. The bats were 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position, despite stranding ten. Ramirez hit his 18th homer of the season, Santana drilled his 14th, and Brantley added his eighth late. Ramirez and Santana are now tied with 55 RBI on the year.
Right-handers Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.74 ERA) and Miguel Gonzalez (5-9, 4.60) will match up in the middle game of the three-game set on Saturday. Kluber has been on a tear since returning from the disabled list, posting a 5-1 record with a 1.52 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP, and nine quality starts in ten outings. Gonzalez has made back-to-back quality starts for the White Sox and earned the club’s last win on Monday. He is 4-2 in eight career games against the Indians.
First pitch from the south side of Chicago is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
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