DeShields’ Squeeze in Tenth Pushes Tribe Past Sox; Indians 5, White Sox 4
Bob Toth | On 09, Aug 2020
Cleveland tied the game with a big two-out two-bagger from Franmil Reyes in the eighth, then plated a pair in the tenth and held on through a weather-delayed home half to squeeze out a 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday Night Baseball.
With all eyes in the baseball world affixed on Chicago, the White Sox hosted the Indians for the third and final time this season in a key rubber match between the AL Central rivals. A back-and-forth game pitted a pair of staff aces against one another, but the final score was decided by both teams’ bullpens.
The score was 3-3 through regulation, sending the game to extra innings. With the White Sox playing in extras for the first time this season, they saw the speedy Jose Ramirez placed on second base as per the new rules in effect for bonus baseball this season. The middle of the Tribe lineup was due to the plate against hard-throwing right-hander Jimmy Cordero and his pulled-up right jersey sleeve.
Francisco Lindor had the first stab at Cordero. Jumping at a 97 MPH slider, he flied to center. Carlos Santana, 0-1 on the day with three walks, should have been a candidate to walk again to set up double play possibilities, but White Sox manager Rick Renteria opted to pitch to him. With the shift on, he hit the ball towards short where third baseman Yoan Moncada fielded the ball, but the ball slipped from his hand while trying to throw to first, allowing Santana to reach on an infield single and Ramirez to take third. Delino DeShields, who had taken over for Reyes as a pinch-runner in the top of the eighth, dropped down a bunt perfectly placed towards the first baseman Yasmani Grandal. Charging, he threw to the plate but a good jump and a better slide from Ramirez allowed him to beat the throw to put the Indians on top, 4-3. A chopper to short by Domingo Santana was tossed to second to force DeShields for the second out, but Mike Freeman lined the next pitch into center field for an important second run, giving the Indians a 5-3 lead. Sandy Leon grounded to second to end the inning.
Brad Hand came on for the bottom of the tenth with Nomar Mazara standing at second base and heavy rains now drenching the field and players. Luis Robert flied to deep left, moving Mazara to third. James McCann sent a fly to center, but Bradley Zimmer got a bad read and the ball dropped in front of him for a single, scoring Mazara to make it a 5-4 game. The conditions continued to worsen, which may have played an adverse effect on Hand as he walked Danny Mendick on four straight nowhere near the zone. After a first-pitch ball to Leury Garcia, the players were pulled off of the field.
After a 44-minute rain delay, Oliver Perez came on in relief with four career saves under his belt. Inheriting a 1-0 count from Hand, who was unable to return after the pause in action, he got Garcia to pop his first pitch up to right for the second out. Perez took Moncada to 2-2 before the Sox’s switch-hitting slugger foul tipped the third strike into Leon’s glove to secure the series and just the fifth save of his 18-year career.
The Indians extended their streak to 17 games in a row of four runs allowed or less and are now 10-7 on the year. The White Sox dropped back to the .500 mark at 8-8 and are just 2-6 at home this season.
In a top-tier early season matchup between a pair of 2019 American League All-Stars, Lucas Giolito outlasted Shane Bieber, but neither factored in the decision. Both starters put up quality efforts, but Bieber exited after six in line for his first loss of the year. Giolito left with the lead after seven and was poised to earn his first win at home in over a year, but the Indians scratched out a late two-out run in the eighth off of the Chicago bullpen to make things interesting.
The White Sox took an early lead against Bieber in the bottom of the second. Giolito retired the side in order in the first and got a double play in the second to erase a four-pitch leadoff walk to C. Santana. Bieber struck out a pair in the first, but Jose Abreu led off the second with a homer, the third of his career off of Bieber. Mazara walked with one out but was taken out on a double play grounder by Robert to end the inning with the Sox on top, 1-0.
The Indians responded with a pair of runs in support of their starter in a good third inning. Freeman, getting the start in left field, doubled to right. Leon took the count from 1-2 to full before walking to put two runners on. Zimmer was cut down swinging for the first out, but Cesar Hernandez picked up his teammate with a double deep to right-center on the next pitch to tie the game at one. Ramirez wasted no time either, jumping on a first-pitch changeup and slapping a single to right, scoring Leon on the play to put the Indians on top, 2-1. That was where the fun ceased for the Tribe, as Giolito stopped the rally with an inning-ending double play off of the bat of Lindor.
Giolito got out of a self-made mess in his half of the fourth. He walked C. Santana for the second time on the night to lead off an inning before striking out Reyes. D. Santana patiently took four pitches out of the zone after falling behind 0-2 to put a second runner on. With two occupying the bases in a one-run game, the bottom of the Indians lineup could not reproduce the results of two innings prior, as both Freeman and Leon struck out swinging over a seven-pitch span to strand a pair.
Bieber used a double play ball of his own to get out of trouble in the bottom of the third after a leadoff single by McCann. He retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth.
Giolito left two more on the bases in the fifth as the Indians missed more opportunities to extend their lead. Hernandez reached on a ground-rule double with one out and Lindor drew a two-out walk to push a runner into scoring position, but C. Santana grounded out to second in his only plate appearance of the day that did not result in him reaching base safely.
After a 1-2-3 inning from Giolito in the top of the sixth, the White Sox bats broke through against Bieber in a long inning that accounted for more than one-third of his pitch count on the night. A back-and-forth battle with McCann went the way of the White Sox backstop as he drove the eighth pitch of the at bat over the wall in left to tie the game at two. After back-to-back strikeouts of Mendick and Garcia, Moncada drew a six-pitch walk. Six pitches later and in his fourth full count of the inning, Bieber left a four-seamer in the swing plane of Grandal, who doubled to center to score Moncada with the go-ahead run. Abreu struck out swinging to end Bieber’s night, but the Tribe starter’s quality effort had him on the losing end, 3-2.
Giolito struck out the side in the seventh in his last inning, but the Indians found a little magic in the eighth against former Tribe reliever Evan Marshall. He struck out Ramirez and Lindor swinging to open the inning, but he walked C. Santana for the third time. That proved costly as Reyes split the gap in left-center with a ball that rolled to the wall for a game-tying RBI-double, knotting the score at three. With the go-ahead run in scoring position, D. Santana flied to shallow right.
The second Tribe reliever of the night, Nick Wittgren, dodged a bullet in the eighth to keep the game tied at three. After striking out Mendick and getting Garcia to fly to center, Moncada slashed a double against the shift into left. Wittgren responded in a big way, striking out Grandal on a fastball high and possibly out of the strike zone for the final out.
The Indians had a chance to take the lead in the ninth, but failed to come through against Chicago closer Alex Colome. With two men down in the inning, Zimmer was grazed on his left foot. Hernandez grounded out to the left side of the infield, but the inning remained alive as he was awarded first base on catcher’s interference on McCann. With a chance to put the Tribe back on top, Ramirez grounded out to second to give the White Sox a chance to walk it off.
Phil Maton pitched a perfect ninth to prevent that from happening, sending the game to extras. Facing the middle of the Chicago order, he struck out a pair. As the pitcher of record when the Indians took the lead in the tenth, he earned the win, his first of the season.
BIG FLIES HURT BIEBER
For the fourth time this season, Bieber gave the Indians a quality six innings of work, but this outing was unlike the prior three as the White Sox struck through for three runs off of him, including the first run of the year that did not come via solo home run. With just two runs allowed on a pair of solo homers entering the game, the White Sox matched that on the blasts by Abreu and McCann, then added the key RBI-double by Grandal to spoil Bieber’s outing further.
He worked six innings in total, throwing 62 of 101 pitches for strikes. He allowed three runs on just four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. In what has become customary fashion, a big chunk of Bieber’s strikes came swinging, as he got 27 whiffs on the night.
Giolito’s scoreless streak against the Indians came to an end, but he survived an unusually wild start to give the White Sox seven solid quality innings. He allowed two runs on four hits with five walks and nine strikeouts. Sixty-three of his 102 pitches were good for strikes, including 16 whiffs and first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 28 batters that he faced on the night.
Giolito last won at home on June 30, 2019. He is 0-6 in his last nine appearances on the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field. He had not allowed a run against the Indians since June 11, 2018, a span of 21 2/3 innings.
News broke prior to the game that the Indians sent Saturday’s starting pitcher Zach Plesac home for disciplinary reasons. The second-year right-hander violated safety protocols and the code of conduct implemented by the team when he left the team’s hotel after the game Saturday and spent time with friends.
According to The Athletic, Plesac rented a car and drove back to Cleveland, giving him plenty of time to think about the consequences of his actions. He will be quarantined for 72 hours away from the team to ensure that he did not come into contact with the coronavirus while out. Early in July, Plesac had spoken out about the importance of being careful in the current state of the world, notably saying “There are common sense situations, where you see things are packed or going out to the bars and drinking, doing stuff like that isn’t stuff that’s really important to us right now and shouldn’t be important to us right now.”
Plesac grew up in Crown Point, Indiana, less than an hour away from Chicago.
[editor’s note] Plesac issued a statement through the Indians organization following the conclusion of Sunday night’s game.
“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the entire Cleveland organization and all of our fans for my actions Saturday evening. I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people. I understand that in these times of uncertainty, I need to be more vigilant and responsible and I am determined to earn my teammates’ forgiveness and get back to work.”
QUICK VISIT HOME
The Indians will have their first scheduled day off of the season on Monday before starting a quick two-game homestand against the Chicago Cubs (10-3), one of the hottest teams in baseball out of the gate. Right-handers Mike Clevinger (1-1, 3.24 ERA) and Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 2.50 ERA) will be the starters for the Indians in the series, with the Cubs calling on left-hander Jon Lester (1-0, 0.82 ERA) and right-hander Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 3.54 ERA). The Cubs have not played since Thursday, as their series against the Cardinals was cancelled this weekend due to a COVID-19 outbreak among St. Louis players and staff.
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