Another error played a factor between Cleveland and Chicago on Tuesday night, as the Indians scored a pair of runs in the tenth and held on by mere feet in the home half to knock off the White Sox, 2-0, from Guaranteed Rate Field.
With the end result of a top-billed pitchers’ duel leaving the game scoreless after nine innings of three-hit baseball for both sides, Garrett Crochet took the mound for the South Siders to face the bottom third of the Tribe lineup in the tenth. With Franmil Reyes standing at second base due to MLB’s extra innings rules, Crochet’s first pitch to Josh Naylor was chopped back to the mound and off of the glove of the second-year left-hander. Home plate umpire Bill Miller ruled catcher’s interference on Yasmani Grandal, putting runners on the corners for Cleveland. Yu Chang flied to shallow right for the first out, but Roberto Perez found the hole between third and short for a rare infield single, allowing Reyes to score the first run of the night. Amed Rosario grabbed a bat and pinch-hit for Andres Gimenez and roped a double to the left-center gap to plate Naylor with the second run of the inning, putting the Indians on top, 2-0. Jordan Luplow entered as a pinch-hitter for Ben Gamel to face new reliever Matt Foster, but he swung and missed on a low changeup for the second out. Cesar Hernandez lined out to second to strand a pair.
James Karinchak, on for the save, came within feet of blowing the save in the bottom half. With Yoan Moncada standing at second, Karinchak crossed up his catcher Perez before striking out Nick Williams for the first out. Grandal grounded a 1-2 pitch to short for the second out, with Moncada moving up to third on the play. Karinchak fell behind Jake Lamb 3-0 before coming back with a pair of strikes. Lamb launched the payoff pitch deep to right, but Naylor reeled in the drive on the warning track for the final out of the ball game.
Cleveland improved to 6-4 on the season with its second road win of the season. Chicago fell to 5-6 with the defeat.
Tough to say one could have scripted a better pitching matchup as baseball fans were treated to one of the best early season pitching duels. Reigning Cy Young winner Shane Bieber and contender Lucas Giolito went toe-to-toe in a hard-fought battle. Bieber outlasted Giolito and worked nine scoreless innings, staying on just long enough to earn his first win of the 2021 season.
TALE OF THE TAPE
T1 – Giolito fires 12 of 14 pitches for strikes, striking out a pair around a groundout by Hernandez.
B1 – Bieber gives up a two-out infield single to Jose Abreu, but leaves him stranded on a comebacker to the mound. Twelve of his first 15 pitches on the night found the strike zone.
T2 – Eddie Rosario gets the Indians in the hit column with a double to right, but he moves no further as Giolito retires the next three in order, including a punch out of Jake Bauers on three straight to end the inning. Eleven of 14 pitches are good for strikes.
B2 – Bieber makes it four straight set down in an economical inning, needing just seven pitches to retire Williams, Grandal, and Lamb. He missed the zone on just the first pitch of the inning.
T3 – Giolito has to work a little, but retires the 8-9-1 hitters in order. Gimenez works the count full, seeing three of the seven balls thrown by Giolito in a 17-pitch frame.
B3 – Bieber gives up his second hit of the night, a one-out single to Mendick. Leaning, he gets picked off by Bieber, who proceeds to strike out his first batter of the night on three pitches to Eaton. He lives in the zone successfully again with nine of his eleven offerings.
T4 – The Indians begin to run up Giolito’s pitch count, but still cannot find their way home. The first two batters ground out before E. Rosario reaches with an infield single. He is stranded as Reyes strikes out on the 18th pitch of the inning.
B5 – Bieber locks in, striking out the side swinging on eleven pitches, getting Robert, Abreu, and Moncada in order.
T5 – Giolito breezes through an eight-pitch inning, adding another strikeout of Bauers along the way.
B5 – Bieber strikes out his fifth in a row to start the inning and adds number sixth to close it, punching out Williams to open the 14-pitch inning before freezing Lamb looking on a hook.
T6 – Giolito retires the first two batters quickly, K’ing Gamel on three straight for the second out before walking Hernandez on four fastballs off the plate. The slumping Ramirez could not get anything done though, as he grounds to first.
B6 – Bieber needs just nine pitches to get three outs. After a groundout by Madrigal, he strikes out Mendick for his seventh K in the last four innings. Adam Eaton was grazed in the left foot on a pitch in the dirt, but Robert grounds the next pitch to third to end the inning.
T7 – The Tribe finds the base paths again, as Naylor reaches off of Giolito on a two-out single to left, but Bauers is set down for the third straight time on strikes as Giolito registers his eighth and final K of the day.
B7 – It is another eleven-pitch inning for Bieber, who uses ten strikes to get Abreu to fly to center before striking out both Moncada and Williams swinging.
T8 – Giolito comes back out to the mound with 101 pitches under his belt. After a six-pitch walk of Perez, his night is done, as manager Tony La Russa calls upon Evan Marshall in relief. Gimenez drops down a sacrifice, but Marshall leaves Perez at second by striking out Gamel and getting Hernandez to foul out behind the plate.
B8 – Pitch count remains in Bieber’s favor and the White Sox do him a favor with a continued aggressive approach. Madrigal grounds the first pitch of the inning to short before Lamb is cut down on three straight. Grandal pops out on a 2-1 pitch to send the game to the ninth.
T9 – Free agent addition Liam Hendriks comes out firing fastballs and keeps the heart of the order quiet. Ramirez swings and misses on a pitch off the plate. Rosario flies to right. Reyes is caught watching a third-strike slider. A familiar face readies himself to return to the mound for Cleveland.
B9 – At 86 pitches through eight innings, Bieber comes back to the center of the diamond to finish what he started, knowing that if he succeeds, the game is going to extra frames. A long battle with Yermin Mercedes includes a foul ball just a blade of grass away from a leadoff hit, but ends with a grounder to second. Eaton singles to left, but Robert lines to right for the second out. The American League’s big award winners face off for the fourth time, as Bieber gets ahead of Abreu 1-2 before losing him on the next three out of the zone to push the winning run into scoring position. Now at 109 pitches, Bieber buckles up and throws four straight curveballs to Moncada, who goes down swinging with the eleventh and final strikeout of Bieber’s incredible performance just before the Tribe’s rally made him the first Tribe pitcher to throw nine shutout innings before earning a win in extra innings.
Bieber, who did not record his first strikeout until the third inning, whiffed eleven on the night in a stellar performance, highlighted by nine scoreless innings of three-hit baseball. It marked his 18th career game with double-digit strikeouts and was his 15th straight game with eight strikeouts registered or more, a club record and just two short of the Major League record set by Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.
“It wasn’t a playoff game but it kind of felt like it, at least for April,” said Bieber after the game. “I love facing off with [Giolito] as well. Nothing but respect. The game was going to be advertised as a pitchers’ duel, and that’s kind of what it ended up being.”
Giolito worked one batter over seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks on 107 pitches (75 for strikes) in the no-decision.
Carlos Rodon (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who was scratched from Monday’s start with an illness, will jump back into the rotation on Wednesday in game three of the four-game set from the South Side. Zach Plesac (1-1, 1.38 ERA) will make his third start of the campaign, looking to get at least his third straight quality start to open the season.
Action kicks off at 8:10 PM ET from Guaranteed Rate Field.
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