CLEVELAND -- Two out of three is usually not bad, but it proved to be for the Cleveland Indians, as they struggled with hitting and committed an error in Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.
Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar matched a career high with 11 strikeouts, which marked the 11th double-digit strikeout game in his career, and allowed just four hits, two walks and two earned runs, but it was not enough, as the White Sox earned a 2-1 win.
The Indians (4-4) and White Sox (3-4) will play the rubber match of the series on Thursday night.
The White Sox struggled to make contact with Salazar’s pitches, but when they did in the top of the second inning, it counted.
Designated hitter Cody Asche led off the frame with what turned out to be the first of two walks against Salazar and went from first base to third when right fielder Avisail Garcia, who was down in the count, 1-2, smacked a ground-rule double to deep right field.
Third baseman Matt Davidson followed with a two-run single to left-center field and moved over to second base on a throw home. Then, center fielder Leury Garcia was hit on the first pitch he saw from Salazar to put runners on the corners. However, Salazar got a strikeout-throw out of second baseman Tyler Saladino and Garcia to end the threat in the second.
Although the White Sox got to Salazar early, they had trouble catching up to him after that, as he registered nine strikeouts over his final five innings of work.
After allowing a lead-off single in the top of the third inning, Salazar got back-to-back strikeouts of left fielder Melky Cabrera and first baseman Jose Abreu, the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters in Chicago’s lineup. Later in the frame, Salazar got a pop fly for the final out, which came with a runner in scoring position.
Salazar got Davidson and catcher Omar Narvaez out on strikes to start the fourth inning and registered another two in the top of the fifth, including a second strikeout of Abreu.
In his final inning of work, Salazar set down the side on strikes, starting with Asche and Avisail Garcia looking and finishing with Davidson swinging.
Despite drawing four walks, the Indians managed just one hit off of White Sox starter Derek Holland.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double to the wall in left-center field, and two batters later, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion worked a walk on just five pitches. It looked as though the Indians might draw even when second baseman Jose Ramirez ripped a liner to right field, but it was tracked down for the out.
Then, outfielder Brandon Guyer popped out to shortstop to end the inning.
The Indians got the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth inning when outfielder Michael Brantley hit an RBI groundout to drive in first baseman Carlos Santana, who singled to start the inning and moved into scoring position when Lindor smashed a double off the wall in left-center field.
However, the Indians failed to get a ball out of the infield and scored just the one run in the eighth.
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