CLEVELAND -- The offense woke up Thursday night in honor of what could be Jeff Samardzija’s final start with the White Sox.
Melky Cabrera homered twice and the White Sox crushed a season-high four home runs in an 8-1 rout of the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Samardzija allowed a run and four hits over eight sharp innings just hours after the trade market suddenly heated up. Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez also homered for the White Sox, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
“We had a very good game today on offense,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “We also have to thank Samardzija because he threw a very good game and the defense was good. This is the kind of offense we thought we were going to have during the whole season.”
Believed to be the team’s biggest available trade chip, Samardzija retired the first eight batters and faced two over the minimum through five innings. By the time he yielded his only run, Samardzija was ahead 5-0 courtesy of a rare offensive explosion.
“It’s a nice game to have, especially after a tough one yesterday, you come back,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Shark was fantastic. Right out of the gate, he just looked like he had command. Tough lineup to go through, all the lefties, and for him to do that was big for us. But we swung the bat. Alexei, a big homer that pushed us ahead. Melky swung it great tonight.”
Cabrera led off a four-run rally in the fourth inning with a solo homer to right off Trevor Bauer. Ramirez followed singles by Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia with a laser of a three-run homer to left to make it 4-0. Eaton got into the act in the fifth with a solo homer, his eighth to make it 5-0.
Two innings later, Cabrera became the first White Sox player to hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same game since Nick Swisher in 2008 when he had a two-run blast to left off Kyle Crockett. It’s the third time in his career that Cabrera has homered from both sides of the plate in the same game.
The market for Samardzija -- who struck out three and walked none -- likely grew smaller by one team on Thursday when the Houston Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Oakland A’s for two prospects. Still, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the White Sox believe they would receive a “significant haul” for Samardzija before the July 31 trade deadline. The Pittsburgh Pirates also acquired third baseman Aramis Ramirez from the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
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Samardzija said all is quiet on the trade front and that parity has teams indecisive about what to do because they’re bunched up like a NASCAR race. If Samardzija is feeling any pressure from a potential trade, he didn’t look like it. But he also credited his outing to his teammates relieving pressure.
“Tip my hat to the offense and defense today, I was just out there throwing the ball over the plate and letting them work behind me,” Samardzija said. “Alexei had a great play, a couple of great plays in the outfield and you get a cushion like they gave me early and you can relax.”