After they struggled all night Monday, none of the White Sox hitters wanted to make the out that could crush their ninth-inning hot streak.
One by one, for seven straight plate appearances, a team reduced to nothing for eight innings put together quality trips to the plate against Cleveland Indians closer Cody Allen. It began with a one-out double and another five hits and a walk later, Melky Cabrera’s bases-loaded RBI single capped a four-run rally as the White Sox stunned the Indians 4-3 at U.S. Cellular Field. Now instead of starting a seven-game homestand with another trying loss, the White Sox hope to capture some of the good feelings created by their sudden comeback.
“Don’t be that guy, don’t get out and don’t let your guys down,” said leadoff man Adam Eaton, who singled in the ninth and also walked twice. “Hopefully it’ll have some momentum for the rest of the series.”
Including a pair of early failures Monday, the White Sox have had plenty of offensive let downs to start the season. An offense featuring two new marquee pieces had been held to two runs or fewer in six of 11 games and appeared to be headed for a seventh.
Trevor Bauer and two relievers struck out nine in eight scoreless innings.
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But none of that seemed to matter in the ninth when Alexei Ramirez doubled over the head of Indians center fielder Mike Aviles with one out to drive in two runs. Avisail Garcia, who doubled, and Conor Gillaspie, who walked, scored on the play. Both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by Allen.
Tyler Flowers and Gordon Beckham then singled, the latter driving in the tying run. Eaton, who earlier walked twice, battled back from a 0-2 count and loaded the bases with a single to left.
Cabrera then worked the count full against Allen before driving a 95-mph fastball to deep left-center field for the game-winner.
“With the Avi double and the Alexei double, then it clicked for us,” Cabrera said through an interpreter. “I've been confident about this team and the potential we have. I know we have a good team.”
White Sox starting pitcher John Danks had his best start and kept the White Sox within striking distance despite making two mistakes that resulted in solo homers. Ryan Raburn hit a 420-foot homer in the second inning and Brett Hayes added one in the fifth. Michael Brantley doubled in a run in the third with the aid of Garcia’s double-clutched throw that allowed Aviles to score from first.
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Danks gave up six hits, walked two and struck out four.
But he couldn’t keep pace with Bauer, who pitched around an early wild bout.
Eaton drew a leadoff walk in the first inning and moved up on Jose Abreu’s one-out single to right field. But Bauer struck out Adam LaRoche and Garcia grounded out to short to strand the pair.
Two innings later, Micah Johnson singled, stole second and Eaton walked. But Cabrera grounded into a double play and Abreu popped out.
From there Bauer needed only 16 pitches to retire the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings.
The White Sox, who aside from Saturday’s 12-run outburst had 27 runs in 10 games, only had one runner reach scoring position between the fourth and eighth innings.
“The offense was flat, Bauer was good,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Any time we really had an opportunity to do anything he bowed up and got through it. There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunities there for us at-bat wise. They had a couple homers and it was pretty flat. But I’m glad there’s no clock. They couldn’t stall. You eventually have to get it and guys had some good at-bats there in the ninth.”