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Indians 9, White Sox 4: Flagging after the first

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Cleveland trails for the first time in a week, but only for a half-inning

Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox
He only used half his bullpen.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The White Sox found a way to end one Cleveland streak tonight.

Matt Davidson hit a three-run homer off Danny Salazar in the first inning, giving the White Sox a 4-3 lead, and the Indians their first deficit in 67 innings.

The larger streak, however, remains intact.

Terry Francona pulled Salazar after two-thirds of an inning and used seven pitchers for a scoreless final 8 13 innings, while Rick Renteria stuck with David Holmberg for a couple innings beyond his three-run first, over which he gave up three more.

The first inning took 46 minutes as both pitchers struggled with the strike zone. The Indians scared Holmberg with back-to-back homers, then loaded the bases at two different points with the help of three Holmberg walks. Another run came in on a fielder’s choice and a 3-0 Cleveland lead.

But Salazar was just plain wild from the start. He walked Yolmer Sanchez on four pitches, and Sanchez made it to third on a stolen base and a throwing error by Yan Gomez, after which he scored on a Jose Abreu groundout for the inning’s second out. Just when it looked like Salazar had reset himself, he walked Avi Garcia, plunked Rob Brantly, and then grooved a 1-2 fastball to Davidson, who sent it just over the wall in center for the rare lead againt Cleveland.

Francona came out and pulled Salazar to start the night for his super-sized bullpen. Nick Goody walked the first two batters he faced and went full on Adam Engel, but escaped with no further damage on a flyout to left.

The eight Cleveland pitchers couldn’t get a 1-2-3 inning all night. But from the second inning on, they didn’t allow an extra-base hit, and they didn’t issue a walk until two outs in the ninth, which limited the damage those nine singles could do. The Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11.

The Sox had their best chance to get back on the board in the sixth, when Tim Anderson singled, and, like Sanchez, stole second and made third on a Gomes error. But Rymer Liriano struck out, Engel struck out, and Sanchez flied out to strand Anderson 90 feet away.

Cleveland’s offense did a better job of hitting the ball with authority, and with two outs. Jose Ramirez tied the game in the second with a solo shot, his second homer off Holmberg in as many innings. An inning later, Greg Allen doubled to left field with two outs for two more runs, giving Cleveland a 6-3 lead.

The White Sox bullpen kept Cleveland off the board for its first five innings of work. Mike Pelfrey went 2 23 innings before weakning in the sixth, when he left the bases loaded for Carson Fulmer against Ramirez. Fulmer fell behind 3-1, but challenged Ramirez with a fastball and got a popout.

Fulmer had life on his pitches, which was enough to make up for lackluster control. He needed a great running catch by Avisail Garcia in right to find success in the seventh after allowing a single and an HBP to start the inning. He came back to get Lonnie Chisenhall to pop into the infield fly rule, then blew away Yan Gomes on three pitches. He then induced a flyout and two popouts around a one-out walk in the eighth, and started the ninth by getting Edwin Encarnacion to fly out. That last batter gave Fulmer the longest scoreless outing of his young career (2 23 innings).

He then handed the ball to Jace Fry to face a lefty-friendly portion of the Cleveland lineup for his MLB debut. He gave up a ringing double to Carlos Santana on his first pitch, got Giovanny Urshela to line out to shrot, then walked Chisenhall after getting ahead 1-2.

Rick Renteria then went to Chris Beck, who gave up a homer to the first batter he faced for the second time this series. This one counted for three runs and pushed the game well out of reach.

Bullet points:

*The first inning took 46 minutes; the final eight innings averaged 28 minutes.

*Yoan Moncada went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in his return from the disabled list, along with a nifty play on the other side of second.

*Rob Brantly started behind the plate and reached base four times to spite pnoles.

Record: 54-83 | Box score