The Tribe didn’t take long to tag White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez opened the game with a walk to Francisco Lindor, then Michael Brantley was able to reach base on an error. Jose Ramirez followed with a three-run homer to open a 3-0 lead for the Indians.
Rajai Davis added to the lead in the fourth inning with an RBI single through the gap on the left side of the infield, scoring Yan Gomes after he sent a double off the left field wall. The very next inning, the Indians extended their lead to 5-0 with a Yonder Alonso double to right field, which scored Ramirez after he walked and proceeded to steal second base.
If the game wasn’t already out of reach by then, it certainly was after the sixth inning. With Bruce Rondon on the mound, Davis singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Francisco Lindor walked and then stole second. Michael Brantley grounded out, leading to an intentional walk of Ramirez to leave the bases loaded for... Edwin Encarnacion? Bold strategy, White Sox. Encarnacion doubled to left, scoring two runs. Yonder Alonso followed with a walk to load the bases again, before a wild pitch allowed everyone to advance and Ramirez to score.
Jason Kipnis delivered the dagger (or maybe a machete is more apt, in this case), clearing the bases with a three-run home run to put the Tribe up 11-0. Tyler Naquin delivered an RBI groundout in the eighth inning to give the Indians an even dozen.
Corey Kluber didn’t even have to break a sweat. The Tribe’s ace allowed one hit and one walk over seven innings pitched, striking out seven White Sox. He retired the final 14 batters he faced before taking his seat in the dugout. Not a bad afternoon.
His performance capped what turned out to be a dominant series for the Indians’ starting pitchers. Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Kluber combined to allow one run in 21.2 innings pitched and together struck out 25 batters in three games.
Relief pitcher George Kontos, called up from Triple-A Columbus to replace the injured Evan Marshall, made his Indians debut in the eighth inning. The former Pittsburgh Pirate issued two walks but struck out the side to preserve the shutout.
Josh Tomlin pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game.
These two teams won’t see each other again until August, so I hope you cherished these last couple weeks. Cleveland now holds an 8-2 edge in the season series.