Even Carlos Rodon’s major league debut couldn’t wake the White Sox offense from its extended slumber.
Jose Abreu homered in the first inning and singled in a run in the eighth but the White Sox -- who got the tying man to the plate late -- were otherwise kept in check during a 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Carlos Carrasco and six Indians relievers struck out 15 as the White Sox were held to two runs or fewer for the seventh time in 13 games.
“You want to put it in play little bit more and make some people work,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I think that’s part of the issue, too -- Carrasco has some great stuff.”
Carrasco and reliever Bryan Shaw brought their best in the few instances where the White Sox were primed to break through.
Tied at 1 in the third inning, the White Sox got the first two men aboard as Micah Johnson singled and Adam Eaton followed with a bunt single. But Carrasco got Cabrera --- who entered with six hits in 11 at-bats against the right-hander --- to hit into a double play and he struck Abreu out. Abreu had homered in the first inning to put the White Sox ahead 1-0, his fourth.
Abreu accounted for the team’s other run with an RBI single in the eighth to cut into Cleveland’s lead. But the White Sox left the bases loaded as Shaw took over and struck out Avisail Garcia to hold onto the four-run lead.
“Right now especially, pitchers are feeling good and they’re executing pitches really well right now,” said Johnson, who finished 1-for-3. “Carrasco threw Abreu a really good changeup. They’re executing pitches. Our guys are doing the same thing. The tides are going to turn at some point.”
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Rodon wasn’t able to execute as the White Sox immediately tested him.
The left-hander took over for Hector Noesi in a one-run game with runners on the corners in the top of the sixth and two outs. The team’s top prospect walked Brandon Moss on four pitches before Sox-killer Ryan Raburn blooped a 3-2 fastball into left for a two-run single and a 4-1 lead. Rodon, who gave up three hits and walked three in 2 1/3 innings, gave up two runs of his own in the seventh. He threw strikes on 29 of 60 pitches.
“Yeah a little bit of butterflies,” Rodon said. “It was fun to be out there, though. Considering.”
Noesi’s second start was much better than his first as he walked only one in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander did surrender a game-tying solo homer to Carlos Santana in the second inning and David Murphy had a solo round-tripper in the fifth to pull ahead 2-1. The Indians got a one-out single from Jason Kipnis in the sixth and Michael Brantley followed with an infield single. With Noesi at 99 pitches, Ventura elected to bring in Rodon to face the left-handed Moss.
Noesi allowed four earned runs and four hits with a walk over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
He kept the White Sox close but the offense went stagnant. Before their rally in the eighth, Indians pitchers set down 16 of 17 White Sox hitter starting with Carrasco’s strikeout of Abreu. Carrasco needed only 60 pitches as he struck out eight over five innings in his first game back since Cabrera lined a ball off his face in Cleveland last Tuesday.
White Sox hitters have struck out 103 times, an average of 7.9 per contest so far this season. The effort came on the heels of a 10-strikeout showing against Trevor Bauer on Monday.
“Both those guys (Bauer and Carrasco) have real good stuff and if you let them get ahead of you it’s a tough uphill battle with the weapons they have,” Flowers said. “
“We’ll come up with a new gameplan next time. They did a good job, at least in my at-bats against them. I didn’t really feel like I got any good pitches to hit.”