It was an eventful first game of the day to say the least, but the Cleveland Guardians were able to steal the win from the Chicago White Sox 7-4 due to a ninth inning rally.
The Guardians packed on the hits early, but Johnny Cueto was able to get out of a few first-inning jams to keep the game scoreless early on. Triston McKenzie started off dealing, going the first three innings perfect and breezing through the order. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that we saw some action.
Josh Harrison started off the inning with a single, and with one out Andrew Vaughn grounded into a force out at second base. José Abreu continued his stellar hitting with a single, putting runners on first and third.
Why do we like Yaz?
Because he gets on base.
Yasmani Grandal delivered his first hit since being back off of the IL, to score Vaughn and give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
The White Sox kept the rally going, as Gavin Sheets walked to load the bases, but Seby Zavala struck out to end the inning.
Cleveland came right back in the bottom of the fourth, in a big way. Cueto allowed a leadoff walk to Nolan Jones, and Austin Hedges was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. A Myles Straw grounder moved runners to first and third, and Steven Kwan, a very hard out to get, doubled down the left-field line to tie the game, 1-1.
The hit parade didn’t stop for the Guardians, as Amed Rosario swung one pitch later to score runners from second and third, and ended up on third base himself as the White Sox defense sent the ball sailing around the field.
Of course, José Ramírez got another RBI, hitting a sacrifice fly to right field to score Rosario.
Cueto was able to get out of the inning without any other damage.
McKenzie continued into the fifth with a 1-2-3 inning, and ran into some trouble in the bottom of the sixth after a two-out walk to Abreu and another single from Grandal. He was replaced by Eli Morgan, who struck out Sheets to end the inning.
Overall, McKenzie had a solid outing, but walks and singles led to a high pitch count. His day ended after 5 ⅔ innings, with four hits, one run, two walks, and four strikeouts.
The fun came in the bottom of the seventh inning. Zavala started off the inning with a single, Leury García grounded into a force out, and Eloy Jiménez flew out to center after pinch-hitting for Adam Engel.
Leadoff hitter Harrison came up big to start the two-out rally with a double to right field, scoring the speedy García from first and cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Moncada switched spots with Harrison, doubling to cut the lead to 4-3.
Trevor Stephan replaced Morgan on the mound, and Vaughn came up clutch yet again, hitting a bloop single to center and scoring Moncada. Suddenly, it was 4-4.
Singles by Abreu and Grandal packed the sacks, and Sheets had the chance to give the South Siders the lead — but he fell short, with a strikeout to end the inning.
Cueto’s day ended after seven innings, eight hits, four runs, one walk, and no strikeouts. His ERA stands at 2.89, and you could consider this yet another solid outing where he went deep and kept his team in the game.
Kendall Graveman replaced Cueto to start the eighth and Franmil Reyes reached due to an error by Moncada at third. What originally looked like an inning-ending double play with Andrés Giménez up to bat was overturned mid-commercial break, putting him back at first. Fortunately, Graveman struck out Owen Miller to end the inning … again.
Zavala started off the bottom of the inning just like he did the last, with a leadoff single. A sacrifice bunt by García moved him to second base, but he was stranded there as the White Sox were unable to drive him in, leaving yet another runner in scoring position.
Hendriks came in to start the ninth, but the All-Star was quickly disrupted by a Nolan Jones double, wild pitch to advance to third, and of course, a Josh Naylor single, his 13th RBI at Guaranteed Rate Field this SEASON, as the Guardians took a 5-4 lead.
A sacrifice bunt donated an out and moved the runner to second, and Kwan singled him in to extend the lead 6-4. Rosario continued the rally with a single of his own, putting runners on first and third with still just one out. Ramírez’s second sacrifice fly of the ballgame extended the lead to 7-4, and luckily that would be it.
The bottom of the ninth inning is never fun when you have to face Emmanuel Clase, especially down three, as he went 1-2-3 and got the heart of the order all to ground out to end the game.
It is disappointing to see another rally fall short, but the team has a chance to redeem itself tonight in the second game of this split doubleheader. The good news is the Guardians will trot out an old friend, lefty Konnor Pilkington, who the White Sox saw well last week. Lance Lynn will look to get back on track. I will be spending my night in the ballpark myself, so they better get a win. The start time is 6:15 p.m., and we will see you all in a few hours.