Jose Ramirez’s two-out, two-run home run in the sixth off of Lance Lynn moved Cleveland out in front and two more insurance runs late paced the Indians to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon.
One night after coming two outs from having a perfect game thrown against them and still suffering the club’s first no-hit effort against them in nearly a decade, the Tribe bats were quieted again for the first half of the game until the team’s slumping but perennial MVP candidate Ramirez gave Aaron Civale some support for his solid start on the mound.
The White Sox took a first inning lead against Civale as both teams honored the legacy of the great Jackie Robinson by wearing the number 42. Tim Anderson, activated prior to the game from the 10-day injured list, opened the home half of the first with a first-pitch single to center. He advanced to third on a single from Adam Eaton, who was thrown out trying to advance to second on the plate. Shortstop Andres Gimenez and Eaton were tangled at the bag on the throw there from Ramirez and Eaton took exception to the way Gimenez had blocked the bag and got up and shoved Gimenez before getting into the face of Cesar Hernandez. Benches and bullpens cleared without further incident and the call on the field remained out at second. Civale struck out Jose Abreu on a payoff pitch low for the second out, but Yoan Moncada delivered the two-out RBI-knock with a single to center to put the White Sox in front, 1-0.
Civale had to work out of a second inning jam. Luis Robert drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a two-out infield single by Nick Madrigal, but Civale got Anderson to ground to Ramirez for the unassisted force at third to end the inning.
Chicago’s big offseason addition, Lynn, set down the first six Tribe hitters in order before the rare hit for Jake Bauers, who doubled the opposite way to left. Lynn took matters into his own hands from there, punching out the next three hitters swinging to leave the tying run at second.
Eaton was hit by a Civale 1-1 fastball to start the third, but he moved no further than second base as the Cleveland starter stranded another base runner. He allowed another hit in the fourth when Robert singled to right with one out, but two outs in the air left him at first.
Lynn worked around a leadoff single by Hernandez in the fourth and retired the side in order in the fifth, while a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning by Abreu did not come back to haunt Civale.
Cleveland threatened and delivered in the sixth to spoil Lynn’s outing. Gimenez doubled over the right-center field wall and moved to third on a groundout by Amed Rosario. Hernandez struck out swinging but the slumping Ramirez, buried in an 0-for-19 skid at the plate, worked the count full before jumping on a sixth straight fastball, yanking a two-run home run over the right field wall to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.
Civale retired the side in order in the bottom of the sixth before the Indians did more damage against the Sox bullpen. Facing hard-throwing left-hander Garrett Crochet, Josh Naylor and Bauers both singled. Austin Hedges sacrificed both runners up and a groundout to third by Gimenez pushed across Naylor with a key insurance run, making it a 3-1 ball game. Michael Kopech entered and retired A. Rosario on a fly to right to leave a runner at third.
Nick Wittgren pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Civale, giving up a two-out single to Anderson before striking out Eaton. The Indians then did more work against Kopech, aided by a double error from Abreu at first. Hernandez opened the inning with a bunt single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Ramirez grounded towards the first base line to Abreu, who misplayed the ball and then made a bad backhand throw to Kopech at first, allowing Hernandez to score and Ramirez to advance to second on the fielding and throwing errors from the reigning MVP. Eddie Rosario drew a walk before a flyout by Franmil Reyes. Ramirez caught Kopech napping and swiped third ahead of a strikeout by Naylor and E. Rosario moved into second with a stolen base of his own before Bauers was retired swinging to strand two more men in scoring position.
Cleveland was retired in order in the ninth before Chicago gave the Tribe a scare against Emmanuel Clase in the home half. Robert tripled to right on a ball played poorly by Naylor. Andrew Vaughn struck out swinging and pinch-hitter Jake Lamb grounded back to the mound. Anderson grounded up the middle, but Gimenez could not make the play and was charged with an error, allowing Robert to score from third and bringing the tying run to the plate in Eaton. He hit a long drive to center, where Ben Gamel shagged down the fly for the final out of the ball game.
The win earned the Indians (7-5) a split of their four-game set with the White Sox (6-7).
Civale remained perfect at 3-0 on the year with a solid quality effort on the mound. He worked six innings of one-run baseball, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out four over 99 pitches. Wittgren and Karinchak each earned their second holds while Clase nailed down his third save of the season despite the unearned run in the ninth.
Lynn was cruising until he made the mistake of pitching to Ramirez in the sixth. He worked six quality innings himself, charged with two runs on five hits while walking none and striking out ten. He dropped to 1-1 on the year with a 0.92 ERA. Crochet and Kopech were each tagged with costly insurance runs.
Bauers and Hernandez each had a pair of hits for Cleveland, while Ramirez’s third homer of the season provided half of the scoring. He was the only starter in the lineup to not record a strikeout as the Indians whiffed 14 times on the day.
Robert and Anderson each had two hits for the Sox. Chicago designated outfielder Nick Williams for assignment to make room for Anderson on the 26-man roster.
The Indians will head back home to Ohio, but to the wrong end of the state for the weekend as the club opens a three-game series at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park on Friday night. In the 7:10 PM ET first pitch, the Reds’ Jeff Hoffman (1-1, 3.86 ERA) will start against the Indians’ Logan Allen (1-1, 2.70 ERA).
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