Trevor Bauer struck out 12. The Indians put up 14 hits. And yet despite some big stats on each side of the ledger for Cleveland, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Baseball is a funny game sometimes and Wednesday’s contest lacked a sense of humor as the Indians squandered opportunity after opportunity throughout the day against Chicago starter Dylan Covey. The Indians would wrap up the game in the only way that seemed fitting, stranding two runners in scoring position in the eighth and grounding into a game-ending double play with two on in the ninth.
The game between Covey and Bauer was scoreless through four, but that did not mean there were not plenty of chances to score for both sides. Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez were stranded after back-to-back one-out singles in the first. Chicago’s Yolmer Sanchez walked with one out in the home half and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but was left in scoring position. Charlie Tilson reached on a two-out infield single in the bottom of the second.
Covey retired ten straight Indians before giving up back-to-back base hits in the fourth with two men out to Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera. A grounder got him out of the jam. Bauer retired his seventh straight to complete four scoreless frames for both starters.
The Indians hit into their first of three double plays on the night to end the fifth after Roberto Perez led off the inning with a single. The White Sox responded by taking advantage of the second walk of the game from Bauer, who walked Tim Anderson to start the inning. He stole second and moved to third on a throwing error from Perez before Tilson hit a triple into the right field corner to put the Sox on the board, 1-0. After Adam Engel struck out swinging, Trayce Thompson knocked in a second run on a squeeze, putting Chicago up, 2-0.
For the third time in six innings, the Indians got consecutive hits. Brantley and Ramirez, who accomplished that in the first inning, led off the sixth against Covey with a pair of singles, but three straight outs in the air wasted more base runners.
Bauer had an all-or-nothing inning in the home half. He struck out Sanchez to start the inning before Jose Abreu doubled to left. Daniel Palka struck out for the second out, but Kevan Smith singled to right, scoring Abreu just ahead of the throw of Cabrera to put the White Sox up 3-0. Anderson struck out with Smith at second to end the inning.
Jason Kipnis started the seventh inning with his first hit of the game, but would be erased on a double play off of the bat of Greg Allen. Allen grounded to Abreu, who tagged the bag and fired to third to nab Kipnis trying to move up.
The Indians finally got to Covey and the White Sox in the eighth, but would fall short. Francisco Lindor and Brantley singled to start the inning, sending Rick Renteria out for reliever Jace Fry. He got Ramirez to ground to third for the first out, but Edwin Encarnacion got into the hit column with a single to left, plating Lindor with the first run. Alonso followed with a double to right, scoring Brantley, but pinch-runner Rajai Davis was only able to get to third as some poor base running preventing the tying run from scoring. With the tying and go-ahead runs both in scoring position, Cabrera and Kipnis both struck out swinging to leave two gigantic runners on base.
Bauer and Dan Otero combined to pitch a perfect bottom of the eighth before the Indians threatened again. Joakim Soria, on for a save for the second straight night, struck out Perez swinging to start the inning before pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall singled to center. He moved to second on a single by Lindor, the team’s sixth set of consecutive hits in the ball game, but Brantley grounded into a 4-3 double play to record the final two outs.
Covey earned his third win of the season with seven-plus innings of work. He allowed two runs on ten hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out five. Soria earned his tenth save of the year, despite giving up two hits in the ninth.
Bauer dropped to 5-5 on the year behind another quality start. He worked seven and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts. With his fourth consecutive double-digit strikeout game (and fifth in his last six), Bauer became just the third Indians pitcher in franchise history to record ten or more strikeouts in four straight games, joining Bob Feller and Corey Kluber.
Eight of nine Indians starters found their ways into the hit column on the night, with only Allen held without one. The top of the lineup (Lindor, Brantley, and Ramirez) combined to go 7-for-14 with both runs scored. The team as a whole, however, combined to go 2-for-13 at the plate with runners in scoring position, stranding nine men on base.
The loss dropped the Indians to 35-31 on the year and just 15-20 away from home this season. They are now 4-2 against the White Sox this season, but have dropped the last two games. Chicago moved to 24-42 on the year and 12-20 at home.
Prior to the game, the White Sox placed reliever Nate Jones on the disabled list with a right forearm strain. Chicago recalled right-hander Juan Minaya from Triple-A Charlotte to assume his roster spot.
The Indians will go for the series split and a winning road trip on Thursday afternoon against tough opposition in left-hander Carlos Rodon (0-1, 3.60 ERA). The 25-year-old made his season debut on Saturday, giving up two earned runs and four total in five innings in a loss against the Boston Red Sox. He is 4-1 in his career against the Indians with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in ten games.
Mike Clevinger (4-2, 3.31) will counter for Cleveland. He took a tough no-decision in his last start on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers. He worked six and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on four hits. His last win came against the White Sox on May 29.
First pitch from Guaranteed Rate Field is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET on Thursday.
Photo: Jon Durr/Getty Images