The White Sox might be under .500, but they've showed a resistance to the season-killing losing streak. Efforts like today's show why.
They brought a three-game skid into Progressive Field, and clung onto a narrow lead despite three bad breaks:
- Alexei Ramirez left the game in the second with a stiff back.
- Scott Carroll left the game after five scoreless innings with a stiff back.
- A missed strike three and a reversed call went against them in the seventh.
The bullpen saw a 3-0 lead whittled down to a one-run margin, but they weathered the worst of it for a relatively easy finish to even up the series, as well as the road trip. If only they could say the same for the first half, which comes to a close on Sunday.
Carroll and Zach McAllister held the offenses in check, but McAllister put himself in a spot of trouble by walking Ramirez to start the inning. Ramirez tweaked his back while taking a pitch, and Moises Sierra replaced him as a pinch-runner. Jose Abreu overshadowed that headline on the very next pitch, as he reached out and took an outside-corner slider to right field, barely clearing the fence for his 29th homer and a 2-0 lead on the Sox' first hit of the game.
In the sixth, Abreu came to the plate after a bunt single and an infield single, but McAllister beat him by getting him to ground into a 4-3 double play. Adam Dunn picked up Abreu by lining a single off the wall in right to stretch the lead to 3-0.
But Zach Putnam came out to start the sixth instead of Carroll, even though Carroll threw only 78 pitches. Back problems sidelined him, too, and his exit forced the bullpen to cover four innings. Putnam pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, but he and the Sox faced major trouble in the seventh.
It started with a Lonnie Chisenhall leadoff single, but it escalated two batters later. Putnam had struck out Nick Swisher for the first out, and he appeared to strike out Yan Gomes with a splitter in the dirt. Home plate umpire Hal Gibson ruled that he foul tipped it, and Gomes agreed, but replays showed Gibson was wrong and Gomes was a liar. That play couldn't be reviewed, and so the at-bat continued.
Gomes then discovered at third life when he hit a soft liner to left that Dayan Viciedo appeared to make a shoestring catch. That play could be reviewed, and replay showed that the ball hit the grass before Viciedo's glove. Even though they finished the play with a force at second, the rules apparently state that a dead ball negates that move. David Murphy came in and loaded the bases with a single with one out, and Robin Ventura went to Javy Guerra.
Guerra retired Mike Aviles on a shallow fly for the second out, but he walked Jason Kipnis on four pitches. The Sox' ninth bases-loaded walk of the year narrowed the gap to 3-1. But the Sox finally caught a break when Gibson called Guerra's first-pitch high slider a strike, setting up Asdrubal Cabrera for a swinging strikeout up in the zone to limit the damage.
The next inning, Eric Surkamp came in to face Michael Brantley for a lefty-lefty matchup. Brantley scoffed at it and hit a fastball over the wall in right for a solo homer to bring the Indians within one.
Fortunately, the White Sox offense had an answer in the ninth, thanks to Austin Adams, who made his MLB debut. He allowed Dayan Viciedo to break an 0-for-20 stretch with a leadoff single, and Conor Gillaspie doubled Tank to third. Then Gordon Beckham, mired in a 1-for-32 slump, followed with a double to left to score two. Two productive outs pushed the game out of save range, and so Jake Petricka received nothing to show for for his 1-2-3 ninth.
*Carroll's line: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K. He's allowed just three hits over his last two starts (11⅔ innings).
*Viciedo didn't get credit for his catch in the seventh, but he did rob Cabrera of extra bases with a diving, tumbling catch along the lines of Avisail Garcia's shoulder-buster. Viciedo came away from his unharmed.
*Leury Garcia moved from center field to short, and made a nice leaping catch to keep the leadoff batter off base in the ninth.