Tribe Offense Missing Again in Second Shutout in Three Days; White Sox 2, Indians 0

The Cleveland Indians’ current homestand has taken an unpleasant turn as, for the second time in three days, the Tribe was shut out by a visiting club. This time, it was the Chicago White Sox, who rode a quality start from right-hander Lucas Giolito to a 2-0 victory from Progressive Field.

There were questions aplenty throughout the offseason as the Indians lost name after name from its productive lineup of a season ago, and those concerns have been brought back to the forefront again, even after injuries to two-fifths of the team’s starting rotation had taken some of the focus off of the under-producing starting nine. The offensive inconsistencies have equated to just one run scored over the team’s last 27 innings since Carlos Santana saved the team on Saturday night with an eighth inning two-run home run to capture a come from behind win.

The Cleveland bats managed just five hits on the day against Giolito, Jace Fry, and Alex Colome, who worked a four-out save to cover a sloppy eighth inning from Fry. All of the hits came from the top two hitters in the lineup, as Francisco Lindor went 3-for-4 while Jason Kipnis followed him in a start at designated hitter by going 2-for-4. The rest of the lineup combined to go 0-for-22 with nine strikeouts.

Moncada – AP Photo/Ron Schwane

The bad offensive showing spoiled another good start from Jefry Rodriguez (0-2), who took a loss despite a quality outing on the mound. He retired the first five batters of the game before a two-out single from Charlie Tilson. He stole second, but he was left as Rodriguez fired a fastball past Tim Anderson for the third out of the inning.

In the third, the White Sox took the lead with a manufactured run. Yolmer Sanchez doubled in a lengthy battle to lead off the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Cordell. Two pitches later, Yoan Moncada continued his hot start against the Indians with a single to left, scoring Sanchez with ease with the game’s first run.

Giolito got some help from those around him to escape any early trouble. Lindor started the game with a single, but Kipnis grounded into a double play to waste the early base runner. Jake Bauers drew a two-out walk in the second, but was left there on a pop out to short by the slumping Leonys Martin. Mike Freeman worked a walk on a close 3-2 pitch, but was erased on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play as he was caught stealing second while Lindor was cut down swinging.

Rodriguez had a tough battle to contend with in the fourth as the White Sox loaded the bases. After a groundout by Jose Abreu, Yonder Alonso walked. James McCann singled him to second and Tilson walked to load the bases. Anderson grounded to third, where Jose Ramirez threw to the plate for the force for the second out, and Rodriguez took matters into his own hands, striking out Sanchez swinging to end the inning.

The Indians left a runner in scoring position in the fourth. Kipnis kicked off the inning with a ground rule double to right as the ball was touched by a fan. He moved to third on a fly out in foul territory by Ramirez, but a pop to short by Santana and a liner to left by Carlos Gonzalez left the tying run 90 feet away. Giolito had an easier fifth, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts.

The White Sox added an insurance run in the sixth. Abreu doubled to left and moved to third on a groundout to first by Alonso. McCann continued his strong start to the season with an RBI-single to left to make it a 2-0 game.

Giolito worked around a little traffic in the sixth. Lindor singled with one out and moved to second on a wild pitch. Ramirez walked with two outs, but Santana struck out swinging to leave the tying runs on base.

The young White Sox hurler retired the side in order with two more strikeouts in the seventh and returned for the eighth, getting Roberto Perez on a grounder to first with his final batter of the game. Things got a little dicey from there for manager Rick Renteria, as he called upon the left-hander Fry. He got Freeman to ground to first, but gave up a single to Lindor and a double to Kipnis to put runners on second and third. Ramirez walked on four straight to load the bases to bring Renteria back out of the dugout for his closer Colome. He got the job done in a pickle, striking out Santana on a borderline call at the knees to effectively end the ball game.

The middle of the Tribe lineup rolled over quietly for Colome in the ninth as Gonzalez struck out swinging, Bauers flied out to a diving Tilson in left, and Martin was cut down on strikes to end it.

The Indians dropped to 18-16 on the year and fell to 9-7 at home behind a three-game losing skid that has seen the club score just one run. The White Sox moved to 16-18 and are 8-8 on the road this season.

Rodriguez – AP Photo/Ron Schwane

Giolito kept the Indians in check in his best start of the season. He worked seven and one-third shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out eight on 105 pitches. His innings and pitch count were both season highs, and his strikeout total matched his season-best since his previous best start in his 2019 debut on March 31 against Kansas City. He moved to 3-1 on the year with the win and dropped his ERA from 5.32 to 4.06.

Rodriguez gave the Indians everything that they could have hoped for from a spot starter. Making his third start of the season for the Indians and sixth overall between the MLB and Triple-A levels, he worked six quality innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts. He worked out of several jams and kept the game close enough, but an absent offense prevented him from earning his first win of the season.

Game three of the four-game series from Progressive Field between the Indians and White Sox is scheduled for a 6:10 PM ET first pitch on Wednesday afternoon. Right-hander Shane Bieber (2-1, 3.16 ERA) will look to end a three-game winless streak, despite consecutive quality starts for the Indians. He took a no-decision his last time out against Seattle, allowing a run on six hits in seven and two-thirds innings. Righty Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 6.69) will look to get back into the win column, just two starts since striking out 14 Tigers hitters in six innings of work in a win over Detroit. He allowed six runs and a pair of homers in five innings in his last start against Boston on May 3.

Photo: AP Photo/Ron Schwane

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