Tribe Gets a Scare, but Holds on Late for a Win; Indians 9, White Sox 7

It wasn’t pretty at the end, but the Cleveland Indians took their fifth straight series win with a 9-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon from Guaranteed Rate Field.

Carlos Carrasco was dominant once again as he continued to torture opposing hitters on Sunday while moving into a tie with Corey Kluber for the team lead in wins with 14. He shut down the White Sox with seven innings of one-run baseball, striking out nine, walking none, and allowing just three hits in an effective 90-pitch effort. Since returning from the disabled list on July 6 against Oakland, the Cleveland starter has gone 6-1 in eight appearances. He has made five straight quality starts to start the second half of the season, going 3-1 in those outings with a 1.87 ERA, 43 strikeouts, and just four walks over the last 33 2/3 innings.

Carrasco – David Banks/Getty Images

The game opened and closed with an outburst of runs between the two clubs, as seven runs were scored in the first two innings and the remaining nine runs came in the final three frames as the Indians held off a late rally from the Sox to climb to 66-51 in the standings while winning their sixth series in seven sets in the second half. Chicago fell to 42-75 with the loss despite the valiant efforts at the end.

Dylan Covey was on the mound for the White Sox, but his second half woes would continue as the Indians jumped out to a big early lead. Michael Brantley reached base with a one-out single and cleanup hitter Yandy Diaz moved him to second on a two-out single. Yonder Alonso started his big day at the plate with an RBI-single to left, putting the Indians up 1-0, and Melky Cabrera broke the game open with a three-run home run to cap an eight-pitch battle with the Chicago right-hander to give Cleveland a 4-0 lead.

Carrasco would allow the bulk of his damage in the first inning, when the White Sox cut into the big deficit. With one out, Yolmer Sanchez singled to right. He advanced to second on a fielder’s choice grounder to first by Jose Abreu as Alonso’s throw to Francisco Lindor pulled the shortstop off of the bag. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch by Carrasco and Sanchez scored on a groundout to first by Daniel Palka to make it 4-1. Avisail Garcia left Abreu at third on a fly out to right.

The Tribe tacked on two more in the second. Greg Allen singled and stole second before two straight outs. Brantley walked and Jason Kipnis singled to center to make it a 5-1 game. Diaz followed with his second single in as many at bats, driving in Brantley to extend the lead to 6-1 before Alonso popped out to second.

Carrasco struggled a bit in the second, but it would be the last of it for the day. Tim Anderson singled with one out and Adam Engel did the same with two outs, but >Nicky Delmonico struck out swinging. It would start a string of 16 straight batters retired by Carrasco as he cruised through his outing, leaving after seven full innings of work with a sizable advantage.

Covey would depart after two and two-thirds, one batter short of facing the lineup two full times. Hector Santiago entered the game and shut down the Indians, despite some heavy and consistent traffic on the base paths.

Santiago would be charged his only run of the night in the seventh in what was his final inning of work. Alonso struck out swinging before Cabrera tripled to left-center. He was lifted for pinch-runner Brandon Guyer as Rick Renteria went to his bullpen for the second time and called upon Tyler Danish. He got Yan Gomes to hit a fly ball to center, deep enough to score Guyer on the sacrifice fly to make it 7-1. Allen flied to right to end the threat.

Engel – David Banks/Getty Images

The Indians added on again in the eighth, but it could have been much worse. Against Danish, Erik Gonzalez singled to left-center before Lindor struck out. Brantley drew a walk and Kipnis knocked in the lead runner with a single to right. Rajai Davis took over on the base paths for Brantley and he came in to score on the third single of the day from Diaz to make it 9-1. Thyago Vieira came on in relief and Alonso sent a drive to deep center. Engel raced back with the play of the day, planting and leaping at the wall and with his entire arm extended over the yellow line, snagged what would have been a three-run blast away from the Indians first baseman. Guyer walked to load the bases, but Gomes grounded out to end the frame with just two runs tacked on.

The White Sox provided some late fireworks in the home half of the eighth against righty Adam Cimber, the first man to the mound in relief of Carrasco. After getting a grounder to start the inning, Engel launched a homer to the right of where he robbed Alonso to make it 9-2. Delmonico was retired on strikes for the second out, but Sanchez joined the home run party with a shot of his own to right-center, making it 9-3.

The Indians were retired in order in the top of the ninth and Dan Otero came on in relief of Cimber to get some work in the six-run contest. He struck out Palka swinging to start the inning, but plunked Garcia with the next offering. Ryan LaMarre took over on the bases for Garcia and moved to second on a single by Yoan Moncada. Anderson jumped on the next pitch and singled to left, scoring LaMarre, and both runners advanced 90 feet on the throw. Kevan Smith added another run to make it 9-5 with a single to center, driving in Moncada. Suddenly a save situation, manager Terry Francona went to the mound for one of his closers, Cody Allen, but he would give up a two-run triple to Engel to make it 9-7. The tying run came to the plate in Delmonico, but Allen struck him out on five pitches. Sanchez walked up as the Sox’s last hope, but he could not play the hero as after getting ahead in the count 2-0, he struck out swinging to end it.

Carrasco worked seven innings in his quality start and win, improving to 14-6 on the season. He struck out nine Chicago hitters and for the fourth start this season did not issue a walk. The one run that he was charged was made possible due to the official scorer ruling the first inning wild throw from Alonso a fielder’s choice as opposed to an error. Cimber was charged with a pair of runs and Otero was tagged for four. Allen’s save was his 23rd of the year.

“For whatever reason, he doesn’t have rust when he comes back [from the disabled list],” said Francona of Carrasco, who has been nearly perfect in his return from the DL. “Now, we can use it to our advantage because he has less innings than he normally would. The tank looks like it’s full and it’s the middle of August.”

Covey lasted just two and two-thirds innings before exiting. He allowed six runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts on the day. Santiago slowed down the Indians’ onslaught, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts in three and two-thirds innings.

Diaz jumped into the heart of the Indians lineup for the injured Edwin Encarnacion on Sunday as the injured slugger was formally placed on the 10-day disabled list. The Cleveland call-up went 3-for-5, scoring a run and driving in two with a three-single day. Kipnis, hitting third in the lineup with Jose Ramirez enjoying a day off, went 3-for-4. Alonso and Cabrera each had two-hit games from the middle of the order, while Alonso was robbed of what would have been his third hit and 21st homer of the year by Engel in the eighth.

Engel’s big day also happened at the plate, as he went 3-for-4 from the ninth spot in Renteria’s lineup while falling a double short of the cycle. He scored once and drove in three. Anderson and Sanchez also added two-hit days.

The Indians will pack their bags from their short stay in Chicago to head to Cincinnati, where the Tribe will take on the Reds in three games beginning Monday night. The Reds took two of three from the Indians during the second week of July. Right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-7, 3.38 ERA) will get the start for Cleveland, while Cincinnati will look to struggling right-hander Homer Bailey (1-9, 6.19).

Photo: David Banks/Getty Images

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