The Chicago White Sox dropped the series opener against the Cleveland Indians on Monday night despite coming back from an early four-run deficit.
Dane Dunning got the ball for the Sox and Aaron Civale started for the Indians. It was a night of struggles for Dunning, which set up another outing where the offense had to do the heavy lifting.
The Sox had a chance to cash in early against Civale. Despite 26 pitches in the first, a pair of walks to Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu, and an infield single by Eloy Jimenez, the Tribe escaped the frame with a 0-0 tie.
Dunning got roughed up in the Indians’ half of the first. Francisco Lindor and Cesar Hernandez singled to put a pair on. Jose Ramirez did the rest with his 16th home run of the season to make it 3-0. The young pitcher retired the next three in order to end the inning.
Cleveland extended their lead in the second. Josh Naylor hit a double off the wall in center. Delino DeShields drew a walk. After Lindor flew out to left, Hernandez singled to right which scored Naylor to make it 4-0.
In the top of the fifth, Tim Anderson singled to continue cementing himself in the American League’s batting race. Yasmani Grandal hit a ground-rule double to stop Anderson at third. Abreu smoked a ball up the middle to plate both runners and cut the lead in half at 4-2.
Eloy Jimenez kept it rolling with a two-run, game-tying homer to make it 4-4. It was a quick four-run frame for the Sox and a sequence that showed the offense’s life, which was spare over the weekend in Cincinnati.
Cleveland answered right back in their half of the fifth inning. With Jace Fry on the mound for the Sox, Ramirez drew a walk and Carlos Santana followed with a no-doubter to make it 6-4 Tribe.
After the stretch, Jimmy Cordero walked Hernandez, gave up a double to Ramirez, and walked Santana intentionally to load the bases with one out. Franmil Reyes hit a deep sacrifice fly to extend the Cleveland lead to 7-4.
Brad Hand entered the game for the top of the ninth carrying a 13-for-13 record in save chances. Nick Madrigal led off with a single. Anderson sent one as far as possible to center without going over the wall for the first out. Yoan Moncada pulled one passed the infield to put two on and bring the tying run to the plate with one out. James McCann, who entered the game for Grandal (bruised right hand) earlier, took a breaking ball that looked to be out of the zone for strike three. Manager Ricky Renteria immediately argued the call and got tossed with two outs in the ninth. It was the first ejection for the Sox in 2020. Abreu ended the game by looking at another breaking ball for strike three. 7-4 was the final score.
Cleveland took the first of four games and handed the Sox their 20th loss. With the Twins dormant tonight, the White Sox division lead shrinks to 1.5 games over Minnesota and four games over the Tribe. Game two is tomorrow with another 5:10 PM CT first pitch. Don’t forget to tune in to the Sox On Tap podcast for postgame reactions and analysis after every White Sox contest.