A blown call, some overaggressive baserunning, and a meltdown from Vinnie Pestano spoiled a great start from Zach McAllister Monday night as the White Sox beat the Indians, 5-4, to kick off a three-game series in Chicago.
After two innings of scorelessness, it was the Indians who drew first blood. With two outs in the top of the third, Jason Kipnis reached with a base hit to keep the inning alive. Asdrubal Cabrera then ripped Chris Sale‘s next pitch into right field for an RBI double to put Cleveland on the board with a 1-0 lead.
The White Sox struck back in the fifth courtesy of a blown call. Alex Rios led off the inning with a base hit, then was wrongly called safe in stealing second base. A pair of fielder’s choices moved Rios to third and then brought him home as the Pale Hose knotted the score at 1-1; this proved to be a decisive run. Russ Canzler‘s two-run homer in the top of the sixth put the Tribe back on top, and though Adam Dunn narrowed the deficit with a solo shot in the bottom of the frame Cleveland still held a 3-2 advantage.
At least, until the bottom of the eighth. Vinnie Pestano took the mound for the Tribe; a Dan Johnson walk and a Kevin Youkilis base hit put runners at the corners with two outs for Adam Dunn. Pestano got ahead in the count 0-2, then left a fastball right in Dunn’s wheelhouse that he mashed for a three-run homer as Chicago took a 5-3 lead.
To their credit, the Indians didn’t go quietly in the ninth. With two outs and nobody on, Matt Thornton was a strike away from closing it out when Ezequiel Carrera delivered with a base hit. Shin-Soo Choo followed with an RBI double to bring the winning run to the plate. Jason Kipnis then hit a ground ball that Orlando Hudson bobbled, but he recovered in time to throw out Kipnis and seal the Tribe’s fate in a 5-4 White Sox win.
The Good: Zach McAllister outpitched Chris Sale. McAllister held the White Sox to just two runs on four hits in six very strong innings, striking out seven Chicago hitters while allowing only two walks. This is the McAllister I wouldn’t mind seeing more often.
Offensively, Carlos Santana had an incredible night, going 1-for-1 with three walks. Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Ezequiel Carrera all had multi-hit games, plus Russ Canzler hit a home run. Of the nine players in the Indians’ starting lineup, only Vinny Rottino failed to record a hit.
The Bad: Vinnie Pestano blew the late lead, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk without striking out a single batter in the eighth inning. He now has a 6.46 ERA since August 10.
The “Huh?”: Lou Marson was caught stealing on two separate occasions Monday night, both of which erased the baserunner and ended the inning. The question, of course, is why Marson was trying to steal? Especially after he’d already done it once earlier in the game?
Interesting Tidbit: It had been 120 days between the Indians and White Sox’ last meeting. Before that, the two teams played 10 times in 27 days.