Dylan Cease only lasted 2⅓ innings, as the left-handed bats in the Cleveland lineup basically had their way with him. Given that the day had at least 41 outs left to cover, the front end of the doubleheader could have turned into a mess.
The front end of the bullpen kept the White Sox in the game. The White Sox scored at too leisurely a pace to capitalize, and not for lack of chances.
The White Sox went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11, and it was quiet 4-for-15 and a loud 11. Three of those hits failed to score runs, while they came away scoreless in two innings where they had bases loaded and fewer than two outs.
An inventory of the squandered innings:
Fourth inning: After limiting the Sox to a Tim Anderson solo shot through three, Aaron Civale hits his first real jam in the fourth, which he exacerbates by walking the then-hitless Nicky Delmonico on four pitches. That brings Luis Robert to the plate, and while he did a great job of working a 3-1 count, he swung at a pitcher’s pitch — a cutter off the plate — and hit a chopper back to the mound. His speed allowed him to beat out a 1-2-3 double play, but the 1-2 kept a run off the board, and Leury García bounced out to keep it a 4-1 game.
Fifth inning: After an Anderson one-out double, Yoán Moncada floats a single to center in front of Bradley Zimmer. Anderson has to hold up, but makes third. Zimmer’s throw hits him, so Moncada takes second. José Abreu gets one run home on a groundout, but Yasmani Grandal gets rung up on a borderline call, and one even more outside.
Eighth inning: Edwin Encarncíon gets hit by a pitch on the hand with one out, followed by singles by Delmonico(!) and Robert that load the bases. Up comes García, who once again hits a chopper to the right side, which turns into a 3-2 fielder’s choice. Zack Collins comes off the bench to hit for Adam Engel, but flies out harmlessly to the left side.
The Sox did make it a one-run game in the ninth, as Grandal finally provided a run-scoring hit with a single through the left side to score Anderson, who led off with a double. That was the first earned run allowed by the Cleveland bullpen this season, but Brad Hand recovered by locking up Encarnción for the strikeout and save.
The White Sox ended up outhitting Cleveland 11-9, which is kind of remarkable since the Tribe held an 8-2 edge in that column through three.
Cease allowed seven of those hits while recording just seven outs, and two of them left the yard. While he didn’t walk anybody, he threw just 34 of 64 pitches for strikes and hit a batter while only punching out one.
Francisco Lindor got around on one of his fastballs for a two-run shot in the first inning, then hung a changeup that Zimmer followed over the right field wall to lead off the second. The changeup wasn’t a threat, and maybe that’s why the Indians’ parade of switch-hitters weren’t fazed when looking at him from the left side.
Jace Fry had to enter with the bases loaded and one out in the third, and while he gave up a single to Zimmer to score one run, he got Roberto Perez to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to keep the game within a reasonable 4-1 margin.
Fry gave up a pair of singles and a walk over his 1⅓ inning, and Jimmy Cordero had to pitch around a missed strike/walk to close out the fourth. Two perfect innings from Ross Detwiler calmed the game, and Steve Cishek and Codi Heuer each tossed a hitless inning as well.
*Civale set a career high with nine strikeouts, and plate control abandoned the White Sox in another familiar look (two walks, 14 strikeouts).
*Moncada and Grandal each struck out three times, although Grandal had a bit of redemption with the RBI single in the ninth.
*Robert went 2-for-4 with a strikeout around that unfortunate swing with the bases loaded.
*Delmonico’s hit was a palpable line drive up the middle.
*Nomar Mazara is reporting to Schaumburg.