Sox Take Series, Shut Out Tribe in Finale; White Sox 2, Indians 0
Bob Toth | On 02, Jun 2019
Cleveland’s Zach Plesac pitched well enough to win on Sunday afternoon, but so too did Chicago’s Lucas Giolito, as the White Sox starter moved to 8-1 on the season with seven and one-third dominant innings on the mound in a 2-0 six-hit shutout over the Indians.
Plesac earned himself another start with seven innings of one-run, four-hit baseball in his second Major League outing, but he was ousted by Giolito, who got one run of support early on the ninth home run of the season by Tim Anderson. The Indians had few opportunities to strike through against Giolito, who kept the bats befuddled with a devastating fastball/changeup mix that made some of the Cleveland hitters look foolish in a two and a half hour series finale from Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Indians and White Sox are now both 29-30 and tied for second place in the American League Central, light years away from the scorching hot Minnesota Twins, which held on for a 9-7 win in Tampa to maintain an 11.5 game lead in the division.
Francisco Lindor had the only answer against Giolito in the early going. He started the game with a single, but was stranded at first on back-to-back strikeouts and a grounder to first. Giolito set down eight straight before seeing Lindor again with two outs in the third and the Tribe All-Star got him again with a single to left, but was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice to end the frame. Giolito struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 fourth.
Plesac had similar early success against the White Sox lineup. Jose Abreu doubled with two down in the first, but James McCann struck out swinging. Plesac retired the side in order in the second and third, but he missed with a four-seamer in to Anderson to start the fourth and the hot season for the shortstop continued as he drove the 2-0 offering to the left of center and pimped it a bit in typical fashion, giving the White Sox a 1-0 lead on his ninth bomb of the season.
Greg Allen got the Indians’ third hit of the day with one out in the fifth, jumping on high heat and driving a double to the base of the right field wall. He advanced no further as Roberto Perez flied to center and Leonys Martin struck out swinging. The Indians got another base runner in the sixth on a one-out single by Oscar Mercado, but Carlos Santana grounded to his counterpart Yonder Alonso at first, who made a nice snag of the hit, fired to second for the force, and scooped the return throw to complete the inning-ending double play.
The White Sox had base runners in the fifth and sixth against Plesac, but could not move those runners into scoring position. He allowed another hit in the seventh as McCann singled to center after the stretch, but Eloy Jimenez struck out swinging before a gem of a double play turned by Lindor on a grounder up the middle by Jose Rondon. He flipped to Jason Kipnis at second, and he fired to Santana at first to end the inning and Plesac’s outing.
Giolito handled the seventh with ease and came back out for the eighth. He got Allen to ground out to first before Perez singled the opposite way to right. Aaron Bummer was summoned from the Chicago bullpen by manager Rick Renteria to face pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow, who grounded into the 6-4-3 twin killing to waste another scoring chance for Cleveland.
Josh Smith, back up from Triple-A to replace the injured Dan Otero in the Indians bullpen, came on for the eighth, but walks proved to be his undoing. After retiring the lefty Alonso on a fly to left, he walked Yolmer Sanchez. He bounced back to strike out Charlie Tilson looking for the second out, but he put on Leury Garcia with his second free pass of the frame. A.J. Cole came on for Cleveland to face Anderson, but he delivered his second RBI of the game with a double to left to make it 2-0 Chicago. Cole struck out Abreu to prevent further harm with a pair in scoring position.
Alex Colome came on for Renteria in the ninth in a save situation, looking for his 12th of the season in as many tries. Lindor attacked early in the count, doubling to left for his third hit of the afternoon. Mercado was robbed of a base hit on a diving catch by Ryan Cordell for the first out. Santana grounded to first, moving Lindor to third, but Kipnis struck out on a high cutter away to end the ball game.
The White Sox took three of four from the Indians and are now 7-5 against Cleveland this season. They have won six of their last seven after being swept by Minnesota last weekend. The Indians return home from their seven-game road trip with a 3-4 record after going 2-1 in Boston against the Red Sox.
The 24-year-old Giolito handled the Indians with ease for the second time in the last month. He worked seven and one-third scoreless innings, giving up five hits and no walks while striking out nine. The numbers were on par with his previous outing against the Indians on May 7 in Cleveland, when the White Sox similarly won 2-0 behind his seven and one-third shutout innings of three-hit baseball with three walks and eight strikeouts. Giolito has now won six consecutive starts and seven straight decisions.
“Unfortunately, he was probably a tick better [than Plesac],” Indians manager Terry Francona said in regards to Giolito’s performance on Sunday. “He’s got velocity. He’s got a changeup. He’ll flip a breaking ball in every so often. Just seems like when he gets in a hitter’s count, he’d throw a really good changeup and it really slowed us down.”
Plesac’s second big league outing was more than encouraging, as he made just one mistake, but paid the price for it as his offense came away empty-handed against the tough Giolito. He took his first career loss, working a career-high seven innings while allowing just one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.
“I thought he was terrific. I thought he actually used his breaking ball better today. They had more right-handed hitters in their lineup than Boston did,” said Francona. “I thought the first time through the order, you could see that his velocity kind of gets up on you a bit. He fell behind a real dangerous hitter and paid for it. Other than that, you see he competes, he competes with his fastball. He didn’t back down. It’s a shame we didn’t score because he pitched a great game.”
With two MLB starts under his belt, Plesac has an impressive 1.46 ERA.
Offense was at a premium for both clubs on Sunday. Anderson provided the biggest lift for the White Sox, going 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, a run scored, and two RBI. He pushed his batting average to .330 with his two-hit performance. Lindor had three of the Indians’ six hits on the day. Allen extended his hitting streak to six straight with his double. He has hit in six of the eight games that he has played since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
The Indians’ season could be on the line this week, as they will host the Minnesota Twins in three straight following Monday’s off day. The White Sox will take Monday off as well before opening a two-game interleague set in Washington, D.C., against the Nationals.
Photo: Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)