A series of late-inning mini-rallies and a full dozen walks helped Cleveland overcome a rough outing from Justin Masterson Wednesday night as the Indians beat the White Sox, 6-4, to win their last away series of the 2012 season.
It didn’t take the Indians long to get on the board. Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana both drew first-inning walks to set up Russ Canzler‘s two-out RBI single and give the Tribe a quick 1-0 lead. But the White Sox came roaring back in the bottom of the inning: Chicago loaded the bases with nobody out and Masterson walked Paul Konerko and gave up a sacrifice fly to Alex Rios. An A.J. Pierzynski RBI double capped the rally and put the White Sox ahead 3-1.
Both teams failed to score in the second or third, though neither Masterson nor Chicago starter Hector Santiago could manage a 1-2-3 inning. Then, in the top of the fourth, the Indians loaded the bases with one out to knock Santiago out of the game. Brian Omogrosso took the mound in relief, and Kipnis welcomed him with a two-run single to tie the score at 3-3. The game remained knotted up until Alexei Ramirez‘ fifth-inning RBI double put Chicago up 4-3 and knocked Masterson out of the game.
The Indians were down, but they weren’t out. Nate Jones returned Masterson’s favor by issuing a game-tying bases-loaded 12-pitch walk to Santana in the top of the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo‘s RBI groundout put the Tribe ahead in the seventh, and Vinny Rottino‘s solo home run in the eighth gave Cleveland an extra insurance run. Chris Perez allowed two baserunners in the ninth (though one was an error) but he was able to shut the door as the Indians held on for a 6-4 win.
The Good: Jason Kipnis (1-for-3 with three walks) and Carlos Santana (1-for-2 with three walks) both reached base four times; Lou Marson also drew three walks, and Russ Canzler went 2-for-4. Plus the Indians’ bullpen combined to throw 4.1 shutout innings.
The Bad: It wasn’t an encouraging outing for Justin Masterson, who got rocked for four runs (all earned) on seven hits in 4.2 innigs pitched. He struck out only two Chicago hitters against four walks—one of which came with the bases loaded. Hopefully he’ll look sharper in his final outing of the season next week.
Also, Asdrubal Cabrera left the game in the first inning with a back strain. That’s obviously not a good sign.
The “Huh?”: Per Jordan Bastian, that Santana, Kipnis, and Marson all got hat tricks in walks marked the first time that three Indians hitters walked thrice in the same game in 46 years. And that’s exactly 46 years ago—September 26, 1956. How crazy is that?
Interesting Tidbit: Wednesday’s win gave the Indians a victory in their last road series of the season for the first time since 2008. But that’s not nearly as interesting as the walks thing.