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White Sox 8, Indians 1: Rare barrage benefits Jeff Samardzija

Melky Cabrera hits two of the team's season-high four homers for an easy victory in opener

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight provided a glimpse of what the White Sox could have been doing this season.

Or maybe it was merely a product of the Indians' own frustrating season.

Either way, the White Sox launched a season-high four homers -- including two by Melky Cabrera -- to give Jeff Samardzija plenty of leeway. Samardzija seized the opportunity, staying in the strike zone to cruise through eight innings with just 99 pitches, verifying whatever positive scouting reports are being discussed, whether in the Sox' front office or others around baseball.

The Sox scored all the runs Samardzija needed when they put two over the fence in the fourth. After a sleepy first three innings, Cabrera provided a jolt when he hit a mistake 0-2 fastball from Trevor Bauer over the wall in right for the game's first run. Jose Abreu followed with a single, and after an Adam LaRoche strikeout, Avisail Garcia singled to bring Alexei Ramirez to the plate.

After getting a swinging strike on a slider, Bauer knocked down Ramirez with a high-and-tight fastball. Whatever effects of that pitch were wasted when he hung a changeup on the next pitch, because Ramirez put it over the high wall in left for a rare White Sox three-run homer, and an even rarer 4-0 lead in the first four innings.

And they kept finding ways to tack on. Adam Eaton started the fifth with his eighth homer of the year for a 5-0 lead, and when the Indians scrounged together a run in the bottom of the sixth, and Sox answered with a KO crooked number in the seventh.

First, Geovany Soto drew a walk to bring Bauer's night to a close. Carlos Sanchez moved him to third with a double to the right-center gap, and while neither could score on Eaton's bounceout, Tyler Saladino brought in one with a sac fly to right (nearly a single, but for a David Murphy Brandon Moss diving catch). That canceled out the Cleveland run before, but Cabrera had bigger ideas. He jumped on Kyle Crockett's first pitch for a two-run shot, and became the first Sox hitter to homer from both sides of the plate since Nick Swisher on June 30, 2008.

In other first-sinces, the Sox scored eight runs for the first time since June 25 (of this season), and Ramirez's homer was the first three-run shot since June 7, or 29 homers before.

Samardzija, meanwhile, lowered his ERA below 4.00 (3.91) for the first time since the end of May.

Bullet points:

*Along with providing the game's biggest blow, Ramirez also came up with the defensive highlight with a diving stop and glove flip to Sanchez for the force at second.

*Leury Garcia, getting a little time on the 25-man roster after Emilio Bonifacio went on the bereavement list, singled in his first at-bat of the season.

Record: 43-50 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights