Corey Kluber was virtually unhittable for the Cleveland Indians on Monday night, making a 1-0 deficit feel much worse than it actually was for the White Sox.
So Adam Eaton decided to put matters into his own hands — in this case, feet — by capitalizing on a small mistake from the 2014 American League Cy Young winner that turned out to be a big one.
Standing on third after a one-out triple in the sixth inning, Eaton was looking for any chance he could get to move 90 more feet.
And then, it came.
With two outs and a 1-1 count on Jose Abreu, Kluber tossed a low, outside slider that slid a little bit too low, enough to bounce a few feet away from catcher Roberto Perez after his block attempt. But Eaton's quick reaction and speed — and attention to minor detail — prevailed as he darted down the base line and dove head-first, scoring the team's first run that evened up the score.
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"Kluber's a heck of a pitcher and you're not going to get too many chances on third base there," Eaton said following the White Sox's 2-1 win over the Indians in extra innings. "I'm just trying to make something happen. Sometimes you got to be aggressive and try to make something happen and it ended up in our favor tonight."
It almost didn't.
Perez beat Eaton to the plate but at the very last second, the ball squirted out of the catcher's glove after a forceful dive from the White Sox outfielder.
Kluber gave an inch, and that's all Eaton wanted and needed.
"I told (third base coach Joe McEwing), I said if it touches the grass or it’s close I’m going." Eaton said. "You gotta put pressure on. As soon as I saw the ball kind of going over, I took a little slide step and then broke for home.
"Sometimes you gotta be risky, especially when there’s a guy on the mound that’s throwing the ball real well and it paid off."
Manager Robin Ventura acknowledged the White Sox weren't generating much offense against Kluber, who's racked up 30 strikeouts over his last two starts, and recognized his team was probably going to have to grind out a run.
"Yeah, he’s just making an instinctual play for the plate," Ventura said. "At times you have to be aggressive and go after it, especially the way Kluber was throwing you’re taking you chances when you can. It was a good secondary that got him that."
The gamble paid off, but not without paying a different price.
"I think my body got the worst of it," Eaton said. "But what's new?"