Tribe and Chi Sox Split Memorial Day Double Dip in Cleveland
Bob Toth | On 31, May 2021
The Indians and White Sox split their doubleheader on Memorial Day, with Chicago stealing an 8-6 win in extra frames in the opener before Cleveland rode the long ball to victory in a 3-1 final in the nightcap.
The Indians did something no others were able to do this season, but still came away on the wrong side of the slate as Carlos Rodon allowed a season-high five runs but the White Sox plated a pair in extras in the eighth to win by an 8-6 decision.
Cleveland could not protect an early lead against the tough left-hander Rodon, who has been as dominant as ever in a bounce-back campaign. The Indians roughed him up with three home runs, but Triston McKenzie and the Tribe bullpen could not keep the White Sox away from the plate in a sloppy defensive showing on Monday afternoon.
Cesar Hernandez started the Cleveland scoring with the first pitch of Rodon’s afternoon. After review, Hernandez’s blast to the left field wall was ruled a home run, putting the Indians up 1-0. Three pitches later, it was a 2-0 contest as Amed Rosario left no doubt with a shot to left of his own.
The White Sox took the lead in the next half inning against McKenzie. After getting Jose Abreu to ground to third, McKenzie walked the seldom-walked Yermin Mercedes in an eight-pitch battle. Adam Eaton moved him to third with a double to right. Leury Garcia reached on a single back to the mound to load the bases and a double to right by Zack Collins, aided by an error by Hernandez, allowed the bases to clear as the Sox took a 3-2 lead. Collins moved to third on a groundout by Madrigal and Tim Anderson joined him on base with the second walk of the inning. Anderson got picked off, but remained alive in the rundown long enough for Collins to score to make it a 4-2 Chicago lead.
Cleveland climbed a run closer in the third. With one out, Hernandez launched a changeup over the wall in left again for his second homer in as many at bats, making it a 4-3 contest. In the fourth, Rodon got the first two men before Josh Naylor singled to left-center. Yu Chang doubled him home to tie the game at four.
McKenzie went on a historic tear through the White Sox lineup in his final innings of work. He struck out Jake Lamb to start the third and got Moncada to ground out before punching out Abreu swinging. He struck out the side in the fourth and fifth frames and got Lamb again to open the sixth with his eighth straight strikeout, setting an Indians’ franchise record. Moncada ended the run with a first-pitch single to right, ending McKenzie’s outing. Bryan Shaw replaced him, but some sloppy play on the diamond helped the White Sox reclaim the lead. A wild pitch moved Moncada to second. Another one on ball four to Abreu put runners on the corners. Mercedes grounded into a fielder’s choice to second, but Hernandez’s throw to try to nab Abreu at second hit the runner for an error, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Shaw responded with a strikeout of Eaton, but walked Garcia to load the bases. In a key at bat, Shaw struck out Collins on a cutter to leave laundry all over the bases.
The Indians put together a two-out rally in the sixth to knot the game back at five. Owen Miller struck out swinging before Naylor got his second hit of the day with an opposite field base hit. Chang struck out looking on three pitches for the second out before Rene Rivera singled to left, putting runners on the corners. Bradley Zimmer legged out an infield single to short to score Naylor to tie the game. A wild pitch by Rodon put both men in scoring position with Hernandez at the plate, but in his third look at the southpaw, Hernandez could not deliver as he struck out swinging to end the inning.
Both clubs got runners on base in the seventh, but could not push across the winning run, sending the game to extras in the shortened seven-inning doubleheader model. James Karinchak came on to keep the game tied, but ran into all sorts of issues. After striking out Moncada, free runner Hamilton swiped third. He scored on a sacrifice fly to left to make it a 6-5 game. Karinchak walked Mercedes on five pitches and the struggling Eaton put the game to bed with a two-run home run to right to give the Sox an 8-5 advantage. Karinchak allowed a single to Garcia before retiring Collins.
Aaron Bummer took the mound for the save in the eighth for Chicago. A passed ball allowed H. Ramirez to move to third ahead of a walk by Miller. Naylor grounded a 1-1 pitch to short, scoring Ramirez but costing the club two outs in the process. Chang struck out swinging on three straight sliders to end it.
The loss moved the Indians to 28-24 on the year, four and a half games in back of the White Sox (33-20).
McKenzie improved on some of the wildness that has plagued him throughout the season, but was still tagged for five runs on the afternoon in five and one-third innings of work. He struck out a season-high ten batters, including eight straight and nine of ten in the back end of his outing (the eight straight matched Corey Kluber’s record established in 2014). McKenzie allowed four hits and a pair of walks on 86 pitches in the no-decision.
“All but the one inning, I thought he was really good,” manager Terry Francona noted after the game. “He missed some bats. He threw a good curveball. He attacked with a fastball and got it by their barrel for the most part.”
Karinchak dropped to 2-2 after allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in the eighth.
Rodon had allowed just two hits to left-handed batters and no more than one earned run in seven of his eight starts entering the day, but he was able to escape the day without a loss. He threw 85 pitches over six innings, allowing season-highs with five runs and nine hits, walking one and striking out eight. Codi Heuer earned his fourth win of the season with a scoreless seventh, while Bummer earned his first save.
The White Sox placed pitcher Michael Kopech on the 10-day injured list prior to the game with a strained left hamstring to make room for their game two starter.
Jose Ramirez broke an early tie with a two-run blast to right to power the Indians over the White Sox in game two of Monday’s doubleheader, 3-1.
Cal Quantrill took the mound for the Tribe, looking to push as deep as he could in what equated to a bullpen game. He allowed just a run in three and two-thirds innings of work and his bullpen mates did the rest to protect the two-run lead that he left with at the time.
The Indians got on the board in the second after Jimmy Lambert retired the side in order in the first. Lambert got the first two men before giving up three straight singles to center to Harold Ramirez, Jake Bauers, and Zimmer, with the last one knocking in H. Ramirez with the game’s first run. Zimmer stole second to put two in scoring position, but Austin Hedges struck out swinging to end the rally.
The White Sox responded with a run in the third off of Quantrill. After a strikeout of Danny Mendick to open the inning, Billy Hamilton doubled to right and moved to third on a wild pitch. Nick Madrigal tied the game with a single to right before Quantrill struck out the next two.
Cleveland countered with the deciding blow in the bottom of the inning. Hernandez fouled out to third, but Rosario singled to right and moved to second on a throwing error. J. Ramirez worked the count to 3-1 before he got his favorite pitch, the home run pitch, and belted an 85 MPH changeup to right for his 13th home run of the year, putting the Indians up by a 3-1 count. Two more reached before Lambert worked his way out of a bigger mess.
Quantrill left after getting two outs in the fourth. He gave up a leadoff single to Abreu, but got a big double play ball off of the bat of Mercedes to prevent any further damage. Kyle Nelson got the final out of the inning. He walked the first man Lamb in the fifth and retired Mendick on a pop up before Nick Wittgren came on from the bullpen. He gave up a single to Hamilton before striking out the next two to leave a pair.
Phil Maton and Emmanuel Clase pitched the final two innings for Cleveland, but both men brought the tying runs to the plate. Yoan Moncada started the sixth with a double, but Maton struck out Abreu, got Mercedes to foul out to first, and punched out Eaton. Clase gave up a leadoff single to Lamb to open the seventh, but incredibly used the next nine pitches to strike out pinch-hitter Garcia, Hamilton, and Madrigal swinging in a perfect 10-for-10 strikes performance to save a victory for the ninth time on the season.
The Indians moved to 29-24 on the year, while the White Sox dropped to 33-21.
Maton earned his first win with a scoreless sixth, allowing a hit and striking out a pair. Quantrill did not factor in the decision, but retired five of his eleven batters set down via strikeout. He allowed a run on four hits, did not walk a man, and stretched himself out to a season-high 60 pitches. Lambert, making his third big league appearance and first start, was charged with three runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in three and two-thirds innings of work.
Hamilton and Moncada each had two-hit days with a single and double. J. Ramirez now has 30 RBI on the year for the Tribe.
Game three of the four-game series from Progressive Field is scheduled for a 6:10 PM ET first pitch on Tuesday. Making his first start since turning 26 on Monday, Shane Bieber (5-3, 3.13 ERA) will be the first to the bump for Cleveland. Dylan Cease (3-1, 2.98 ERA) will look to continue his strong start to the 2021 season for the White Sox.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images