John Danks tries to take moral victory from hard-luck loss as eighth-inning rally comes up short
This game could've brought back memories of April and "These Kids Will Not Quit," but the rain -- and Cody Allen, I guess -- put the fizzle on potential fireworks.
The White Sox had narrowed the lead in the eighth inning to one run with a little help from the Cleveland defense. Third baseman Mike Aviles booted a routine Jose Abreu chopper to keep the inning alive, and a fortuitous Adam Dunn broken-bat single into the shift scored Alexei Ramirez to narrow the lead. Abreu took third on the play, and, with Avisail Garcia at the plate, pinch-running Leury Garcia stole second.
Avisail Garcia did his part to get a favorable count, laying off junk for a 3-1 advantage and forcing Allen to throw fastballs. Allen complied, but Garcia swung through both of them to end the inning and stall the rally. He had company, as Allen struck out the side in the ninth for the save and series victory for the Tribe.
This game never really got hot for the Sox. It started with Michael Bourn lacing a double down the left-field line and Alejandro De Aza playing it into a triple. Bourn then scored on a groundout -- even with a delayed start -- to give the Indians a 1-0 lead two batters in, and the Sox never led this one.
The defense eventually picked up, as the Sox flashed leather all over the diamond:
- De Aza fought off Adam Eaton to make a leaping catch at the wall
- Alexei Ramirez went down to one knee to snab a hot shot to his backhand side, then ranged past second to make another play.
- Jose Abreu charged a weak grounder in his direction and made a terrific throw to get the lead runner at second.
- John Danks had a nice night as the fifth infielder.
But Indians starter Carlos Carrasco had everybody's number outside the top of the order. The Sox managed just six singles and a walk, and the top three hitters -- Eaton, Ramirez and Abreu -- accounted for five of those baserunners. The rest of the lineup went 2-for-23 with nine strikeouts.
The Sox were able to tie it up again in the third, when the Indians once again lost an unnecessary battle with Abreu. Carrasco chose to pitch to Pito after Eaton singled, stole second and took third on a throwing error, and Abreu reached out and roped a single over shortstop to knot the game at 1.
Danks had his best start in weeks, but the Indians started beating him as his pitch count approached 100 in the sixth inning. With a runner on third and one out, he snared Carlos Santana's liner to give himself a shot at getting out of the inning, but Jason Kipnis beat him with a single to give the Indians the lead. Danks gave up two more hard-hit balls, but the second one found Garcia in right for the final out.
Ronald Belisario took over in the seventh and suffered his usual assortment of bad BABIP luck. He gave up three singles -- one firm, one seeing-eye, and one flare to Michael Brantlley for a two-out RBI. That kicked the game out of reach.