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Indians squeak past White Sox, 4-3

Aaron Civale piled up a career-high nine strikeouts

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game 1 Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Bradley Zimmer slugged his first home run since May 4, 2018 in the Cleveland Indians’ 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox in the afternoon matinee of a double-header.

Francisco Lindor broke the game open with a two-run homer in the first inning to spot the Tribe a 2-0 lead before Zimmer contributed his solo shot in the second. Zimmer and his retooled swing added an RBI single with the bases loaded in the third inning to round out the four runs the Indians were able to muster against their Windy City division rival.

Aaron Civale, in his season debut, refused to be the first Cleveland starting pitcher to struggle, continuing the Tribe’s string of solid starts. He held his own for six innings, surrendering seven hits and two earned runs, walking one batter, and recording a career-high nine strikeouts.

Civale racked up six strikeouts through the first three innings, with a solo shot to Tim Anderson representing the only blip on the radar. But the White Sox made him sweat the second and third times through the order. He loaded the bases in the third inning with one out, managing to work his way out of it with no damage done. He wasn’t as fortunate in the fifth inning, allowing Anderson to reach base on a one-out double and then score two batters later.

James Karinchak took over for Civale in the seventh and struck out the side after a leadoff walk, but seems determined to make “Wild Thing” more of a warning than a walk-up song:

James Karinchak’s pitch chart vs White Sox, 7/28 Baseball Savant

White Sox manager Rick Renteria made the bold decision to reach into his bullpen in the third inning, sending starter Dylan Cease to the showers after he loaded the bases with one out. Left-handed reliever Jace Fry was able to limit the damage to one run before inducing a Roberto Pérez inning-ending double play, but Cease’s final line was 2.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, and 1 K. Not exactly what you want from your starting pitch in the first game of a doubleheader.

The quick hook for Cease worked in the White Sox’s favor though, as four relievers combined to hold the Indians scoreless over the final 5.2 innings. The Tribe had multiple opportunities to blow the game open, but failed to capitalize and give themselves a more comfortable lead. And things certainly got uncomfortable for Nick Wittgren in the eighth inning, when he loaded the bases with one out. Fortunately he proved to be a capable escape artist, emerging unscathed thanks to a heads up play by Carlos Santana at first base and then an inning-ending flyout.

Brad Hand followed Wittgren’s lead in the ninth inning, tempting fate with a leadoff double down the third base line to Anderson. He managed to strike out Yoan Moncada and then induce a flyout from Jose Abreu, but a two-out single by Yasmani Grandal cut the Indians’ lead to 4-3. Edwin Encarnación struck out looking on a 3-2 slider to end the game.