The White Sox (20-30) picked up a victory in Cleveland against the Guardians (21-27), which should not be taken for granted. As a result of the victory, the South Siders have a chance to take the series when these teams face each other Wednesday afternoon.
Both pitchers got off to a fast start on the mound. Logan Allen and Dylan Cease both had a pitch count in the single digits after one inning of play. Allen proceeded to retire the first 11 batters he faced, only needing 37 pitches to do so. The first White Sox player to reach base was Luis Robert Jr., who singled with two outs in the fourth.
The game remained scoreless until one out in the bottom of the third, when Cease made a mistake with a slider that caught too much of the plate. Will Brennan cashed in on the opportunity by launching a home run to right-center that made it 1-0.
The fourth inning also appeared to be heading in a troublesome direction. With two outs, Josh Bell singled, and Gabriel Arias drew a two-out walk. On a 3-2 count, the pressure was on, and Andrés Giménez hit a grounder up the middle. It looked like Cleveland would be adding an insurance run, but Tim Anderson saved a run by making a diving stop to keep the ball in the infield. To make matters even better, Bell made an overly aggressive decision by heading home, and Anderson threw him out to end the inning.
In the fifth, Allen was still cruising, as the White Sox had two outs and nobody on base. At that point, the White Sox were only 1-for-15 with a measly single against him. That changed when Yasmani Grandal tied the game by squaring up a high fastball with a solo home run to left.
The sixth was Cease’s last inning on the mound, and that was when Cleveland broke the tie once more against him. Amed Rosario drew a leadoff walk, and Josh Naylor drove him in with a double. Despite this, Cease picked up his third consecutive quality start, but the Guardians had a 2-1 lead when he was done.
The Guardians did not hold their slim lead for long. In the top of the seventh, the Andrews (Vaughn and Benintendi) got a big inning started with back-to-back hits. Vaughn led off with a single, and Benintendi doubled to put two in scoring position with no outs. That brought up Grandal, who hit a grounder to third that was unexpectedly misplayed by José Ramírez for the only error of the game. Everyone was safe, and Vaughn scored the tying run.
New friend Clint Frazier kept the momentum going with a walk to load the bases. That brought up Romy González, who came through in a high-leverage moment with a clutch double.
That gave the White Sox a 4-2 lead, and they had a great opportunity to build on their big inning even further. With runners on second and third, three runs in, and no outs, the South Siders had the top of the order coming up. Surprisingly, Anderson, Jake Burger, and Robert all struck out, so the lead was stuck at two. It is worth noting that although Burger has been terrific at the plate this season, it was a day to forget for him (0-for-5 with five strikeouts).
Down the stretch, the bullpen ensured that the missed opportunity did not come back to bite the White Sox. Keynan Middleton pitched a scoreless seventh, and Joe Kelly kept his hot streak going with a scoreless eighth.
Despite Kelly’s strong frame, there was a potentially negative development that occurred during the inning. Robert stumbled while fielding a ball, and he was removed shortly after due to right hip tightness. According to the White Sox, he is day-to-day. Let’s hope the injury is nothing serious.
Finally, although Kendall Graveman issued a leadoff walk in the ninth, he forced a double play grounder to erase the threat. Graveman ultimately picked up the save to secure a 4-2 victory. A high, 97 mph fastball to strike out Mike Zunino sealed the deal.
The final matchup of this three-game series in Cleveland is scheduled to start at 12:10 p.m. Central on Wednesday. NBC Sports Chicago and WMVP 1000 AM will cover the game. The probable starting pitchers are Cal Quantrill (4.06 ERA, 5.05 FIP, 51 innings, 0.2 fWAR) and Michael Kopech (4.83 ERA, 6.27 FIP, 50 1⁄3 innings, -0.3 fWAR), who was brilliant during his last game. We hope to see you then.