Steven Kwan led off the fifth inning of a 2-2 game with a single off Mike Clevinger. Andrés Giménez then followed with a terrible bunt attempt on a 1-0 count that nearly resulted in a popout to Yoán Moncada in foul territory.
Undeterred, Giménez tried another bunt, and once again popped it foul to the left side for strike two.
That forced Giménez to swing the bat, which he should’ve been doing all along as the No. 2 hitter. He took a changeup in the dirt, then got a piece of an outside changeup to stay alive.
After three consecutive changeups, Clevinger tried to heat him upstairs. He hit his spot, but Giménez beat him to it, and turned that fastball into a two-run homer that proved decisive.
That’s how it’s going for the White Sox, who lost their fifth consecutive game in standard fashion. They scored in one inning and one inning only, and even though they posted a crooked number, it still managed to disappoint.
The Guardians had notched single runs off Clevinger in the first two innings, but Logan Allen, who took a comebacker off his lower leg in the second, came out misfiring in the third. He walked Trayce Thompson, then gave up a single to Oscar Colás and a double to Elvis Andrus that made it a 2-1 game with runners on second and third. Allen then walked Tim Anderson and Andrew Benintendi on nine pitches combined to tie the game.
Allen couldn’t get his fastball over, so he stopped throwing it, and that did the trick. He alternated changeups and sweepers to Luis Robert Jr. for a four-pitch strikeout, and then dangled those pitches low and away to Andrew Vaughn, resulting in another K. Yoán Moncada put the ball in play, but it was a weak bouncer to short, and Allen prevented the Sox from taking the lead.
Potentially rallies were snuffed out by the Guardians’ defense, including two more sliding catches by Will Brennan in right field and three double plays. The last one was a killer. Benintendi and Robert started the eighth with singles against Trevor Stephan, but Vaughn struck out again, and Moncada grounded to short again for a 6-4-3 twin killing.
The Guardians held on for the win despite losing Terry Francona in the fourth inning to an ejection from righteous indignation. Bryan Rocchio led off the inning with a sinking liner to right field that hit the turf before Thompson got there. Thompson knocked it down, but he slid past it, so Rocchio turned to second.
Thompson did a nice job of recovering and making an on-target throw, but Rocchio beat it with a slide to the third-base side of the bag, with his hand maintaining contact … until Tim Anderson’s tag knocked it off.
Third-base umpire Malachi Moore, who rotated to cover the plate, was standing right over the play when he made the “safe” call, so at first glance, it didn’t seem like he was interested in Anderson’s shenanigans. But he also didn’t make the gesture that Anderson had pushed Rocchio off the bag, so the White Sox challenged the play, and New York overturned the call.
Had Moore definitively ruled that Anderson forced Rocchio to lose contact after his momentum came to a rest, the call wouldn’t have been reviewable. Because Moore made a simple safe-out call and did not signal the play dead after Anderson made contact, the Sox sent the play to the review center, which apparently isn’t allowed to provide the same discretion.
After the game, Francona appeared just as upset about the missed call as he was irate over Moore’s response to the protest.
“When you make a call that hideous, you can’t be arrogant, you can’t be throwing your hands up in the air,” Francona said. “He was two feet from there. He needs to practice more.”
But the Guardians still won.
*Yasmani Grandal was charged with a throwing error on a Myles Straw stolen base that allowed him to advance to third. He scored on a wild pitch.
*Jimmy Lambert and Bryan Shaw combined for three scoreless innings out of the pen. The nice thing about this losing streak being on the road is that the pitching staff only needs to cover eight innings.