Tonight, the White Sox started a guy with a 4.50 ERA.
The Indians started one with an ERA exactly half that.
Based only on those numbers, tonight turned out like anybody could’ve expected. James Shields tossed a quality start for the White Sox, but Trevor Bauer was better, and the White Sox couldn’t seize a couple opportunities against the Cleveland bullpen.
Shields technically exceeded the minimum for a quality start, allowing three runs (two earned) over seven innings. However, the unearned run should be on his tab. He allowed a two-out single by Roberto Perez, after which Perez caught him sleeping and stole second, took third when Omar Narvaez’s throw went into the runner, and scored on a Greg Allen single, tying the game at 1.
The other two runs — back-to-back homers by Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez to start the sixth — were more clearly earned, and they made the difference.
The Sox couldn’t string such quality at-bats against Bauer. Yoan Moncada had another encouraging moment from the eighth spot, winning a six-pitch battle against Bauer in the third inning by crushing an inside-corner fastball well over the patio in right to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.
But Bauer held the Sox to just one over hit through six innings and zero walks while striking out eight. He only left the game because Jose Abreu drilled a line drive off Bauer’s ankle with one out in the seventh. Even then the ball caromed to first base for a 1-3 putout, so Bauer’s evening ended with him retiring the last 11 batters he faced.
Terry Francona went to Brad Hand, who looked like a bad Hand at the onset of his outing. He walked Daniel Palka and Avisail Garcia on eight pitches to put the tying run on base, but eventually corrected himself to strike out Omar Narvaez and Tim Anderson. Those were White Sox’ only two at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Sox had a lesser opportunity in the ninth, after Yolmer Sanchez greeted Cleveland closer Cody Allen with a leadoff single, setting up the heart of the order. Abreu popped up a first-pitch pitcher’s pitch, but Palka worked a full count before getting a curve in the strike zone, outer half. He got a lot of it, but not enough of it, falling into Greg Allen’s glove in center for the second out. Avisail Garcia whiffed to end the game.
*The Sox committed three errors. Besides Narvaez’s throw on Perez’s stolen base, Garcia and Ryan LaMarre gave up extra bases on bobbles in the outfield.
*Garcia’s bobble effectively turned Brantley’s leadoff double in the fourth inning into a leadoff triple, but Shields escaped with two popouts and a groundout.
*LaMarre’s bobble put runners on second and third with one out in the eighth with Luis Avilan on the mound. Avilan then plunked Melky Cabrera to load the bases and fell behind 3-0 on Jason Kipnis, but Kipnis flied out to shallow left, and Jeanmar Gomez came in to retire Brandon Guyer on a groundout.
Record: 42-74 | Box score