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White Sox 5, Indians 3: Holmberg’s effort holds up

Offense’s early barrage enough to back starter’s continued success

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians
This is what an effective fill-in looks like.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The White Sox got out to an early lead courtesy of Tribe starter Josh Tomlin, who left a lot of hittable pitches in the zone. A few were hit hard, and a few more found some holes, and the offense turned 4 first-inning singles into 3 runs. By the time Tomlin left the game in the third, he had given up 9 hits and 4 runs (3 earned), with no walks, no strikeouts, and only one swing-and-miss.

The support was enough for David Holmberg, who continued to do his Eighth Starter job of getting through the lineup twice and getting out of the way. His only blemish was a rocket two-run home run by Edwin Encarnacion that bounced off the top of the fence in left-center. Holmberg made it through 5 innings, allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk, and turned it over to the bullpen. And that’s where things got a bit dicey.

With the bullpen needing to cover four innings, Rick Renteria decided to use three relievers against the middle of the order in the sixth. Chris Beck and Dan Jennings got the first two outs, but Carlos Santana punished Jennings’s center-cut slider for a solo home run. Encarnacion then greeted Anthony Swarzak with a scraper double that nearly tied the game. After a wild pitch, Swarzak got a flyout from Jose Ramírez to mercifully escape.

Of course, the Sox might have made this into a blowout, but they ran into five outs on the basepaths over the course of the night.

  • First Inning: Todd Frazier got a horrible jump trying to steal third and made an unsuccessful pop-up slide.
  • Second Inning: Nick Capra made an ill-advised send of Melky Cabrera from first on a two-out double.
  • Third Inning: Avisaíl García got thrown out going first-to-third on an infield single after Frazier beat the throw to first. (Tom Verducci praised Avi’s aggressiveness and said the Indians executed the play well.)
  • Fifth Inning: José Abreu tried to stretch a single into a double, slid around the tag, and wasn’t able to swim past Jason Kipnis’s glove.
  • Eighth Inning: Yolmer Sánchez took off from third on a suicide squeeze, but got doubled off when Leury García’s horrible bunt was caught in foul territory.

Fortunately, TOOTBLANs aplenty couldn’t undo the damage the Sox did in the first two innings, and the bullpen shut it down after the shaky sixth. Swarzak settled in with a 1-2-3 seventh, the offense tacked on another run in the top of the eighth, and David Robertson came on for a fairly uneventful six-out save with four strikeouts.

Game Notes

  • The Sox had 14 hits on the night; Cabrera and Abreu had three apiece.
  • Alen Hanson made his White Sox debut as a pinch runner in the eighth and scored a run on a sac fly.

Record: 26-34 | Box score | Highlights