With their backs to the wall, the Chicago White Sox took advantage of a Cleveland Indians team that looks ready for the season to be over, torching Corey Kluber and five Indians relievers en route to an 11-0 victory in Cleveland. The win kept the White Sox’s postseason dreams alive, at least for another hour until the Tigers clinched later in the evening.
For the Indians, it was just another loss in a season of many. “Disinterested” would be a generous compliment to the way the Indians seemed to play. Kluber was effective through five; outside of a scare in the second inning when he allowed leadoff singles to Paul Konerko and Alex Rios before retiring the side, Kluber was able to keep the White Sox off the scoreboard.
However, in the sixth inning, the Sox finally decided they wanted to make things difficult for Detroit. Kluber sandwiched a Dewayne Wise bunt single between a Gordan Beckham groundout and a Kevin Youkils strikeout. Wise stole second, and then scored on an Adam Dunn single to center.
And then the wheels flew off for Indians pitching. Kluber walked Konerko, and after a coaching visit, yielded a single to Rios that allowed Dunn to score. Joe Smith relieved Kluber and promptly allowed an RBI-single to A.J. Pierzynski, that was deflected by second baseman Jason Kipnis into left field. Dayan Viciedo then singled to right field on the second pitch he saw and it was 4-0 White Sox when Smith retired Alexei Ramirez to end the inning.
It wasn’t a rout until the top of the ninth, when Rogers surrendered singles to Wise and Youkilis with questionable defensive intensity by the Indians defense. Dunn singled to score Wise, and after a coaching visit, Carlos Santana had his second passed ball of the night, allowing Dunn and Youkilis to advance. Konerko singled to right, and Scott Maine relieved Rogers. Maine struck out Rios on six pitches, and then threw four straight balls to Pierzynski. Vicedo hit an 0-1 sinker into left for a grand slam to run the score to 11-0, as Maine needed 30 pitches to get through the inning.
The Indians offense managed just one hit off White Sox starter Humberto Santiago and didn’t show any signs of life until the bottom of the ninth, when pinch-hitter Thomas Neal was hit by a Leyson Septimo pitch. Cord Phelps, pinch-hitting for Kipnis, singled to left. But Brent Lillibridge struck out pinch hitting for Asdrubal Cabrera, and Santana flew out weakly to center to end the game.
The Good: Kluber was effective through five innings pitched, and in hindsight probably shouldn’t have started the sixth. For about five innings, the White Sox appeared to actually care less than the Indians.
The Bad: The game went nine innings long. And after Kluber cruised through the first five innings, Indians pitching gound the game to a halt and the result was the final drubbing. The Indians lacked focus on defense, to put it kindly.