After suffering three-hitters in the first two games of the series, the White Sox exceeded their offensive output in the first inning alone. They greeted Danny Salazar with four hits that led to three runs, and that was all a pitching staff headed by Derek Holland needed to stave off a sweep.
The White Sox did their heavy lifting early, although with an assist from the Cleveland defense that foreshadowed later problems on the Tribe’s side. Tim Anderson started the attack by roping an 0-2 changeup for a double, moved to third on Tyler Saladino’s single and scored on a Melky Cabrera sac fly. It was so easy that you wondered why the White Sox didn’t try it sooner this weekend.
They weren’t done. Jose Abreu followed with a single to right that effectively turned into an RBI triple when a charging Abraham Almonte coudn’t knock it down. Salazar rebounded to strike out Avisail Garcia, but he couldn’t get by a second Garcia, as Leury smacked a single to center to put the White Sox up 3-0.
When the Indians cut into the lead in the fourth, the Sox were able to get the run back in the fifth on their own volition. Avisail Garcia smoked a double to center that scored Abreu all the way from first on a good slide.
The other two runs were pure Cleveland. In the sixth, Boone Logan walked Omar Narvaez, after which Jacob May bunted down the first base line. Carlos Santana came off first to field it, but the combination of a slow underhanded flip and a hustling May forced Michael Martinez to stretch catching the throw, and he dropped it for some reason.
After a pair of strikeouts, Melky Cabrera slashed a single through the left side. Nick Capra waved around Narvaez even though Brandon Guyer had fielded the ball as Narvaez rounded third. Guyer made a good throw, but Roberto Perez dropped the ball before turning to apply the tag, and Narvaez slid in safely for a 5-1 lead.
Capping off the scoring, Santana literally booted an Abreu grounder with two outs in the eight. He tried to field it without moving his feet but didn’t get the mitt down far enough. The ball deflected into short center field, and May scored from second to put the game far out of reach.
Holland made all those runs unnecessary with six strong innings. He allowed just the run on three hits and three walks while striking out six. The run was on a Francisco Lindor homer to lead off the fourth, but he sidestepped a worse situation in the fifth.
That inning, Austin Jackson led off with a double. Almonte walked, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch to Perez, whom Holland froze on a sinker just off the inside corner for strike three. Holland then buried a 1-2 slider to strikeout Martinez for the second out. He lost a battle to Santana, walking him on a full count, but he rallied to put away Lindor on a 1-2 slider to end the threat.
Holland finished his day with a 10-pitch sixth, handing the ball over to the White Sox bullpen. In an unusual order, Nate Jones pitched a scoreless seventh and Tommy Kahnle handled the eighth (update: Jones had been warming up to relieve Holland in the sixth, which explains the order). David Robertson allowed a leadoff double to score in the ninth, but a five-run lead is an OK time to allow the first run of the year.
*I was doing yard work for the first half of this game with MLBTV streaming outside. Please fill in any details I may have missed.
*The White Sox struck out 15 times, including 10 times by looking. Saladino fanned four times himself.
*On the plus side, May was the only White Sox without a hit, but he did draw a walk and executed the bunt.
*Reaching base three times were Anderson (double, single, walk), Abreu (two singles, HBP) and Narvaez (single, two walks).
*On top of the three-error performance, the Indians lost track of the third out on a couple of occasions.