If you were hoping for fireworks on Tuesday night, the men on the mound delivered. The showdown between Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito lived up the billing, with neither team crossing home plate until Cleveland scored in the tenth to edge the Chicago White Sox in a 2-0 victory.
Cleveland broke the nine-inning stalemate in the tenth thanks to a one-out infield single from Roberto Pérez, scoring Franmil Reyes from third for the first run of the game and a 1-0 lead. Reyes, on second base to start the inning thanks to MLB’s extra-inning rule, was able to advance to third when Josh Naylor reached base on a chopper that pitcher Garrett Crochet could not corral. Amed Rosario, pinch-hitting for Andrés Giménez, followed Pérez’s RBI single with a line shot into the gap in left center for a run-scoring double, extending Cleveland’s lead to 2-0.
James Karinchak notched the final three outs to close it out.
Shane Bieber did the rest of the work, pitching nine scoreless innings. He needed a couple innings to settle in, holding the White Sox scoreless but allowing the first nine hitters he faced to put the ball in play. Once he found a feel for his knuckle curve in the third inning, Cleveland’s ace promptly put it to work, striking out five consecutive batters. The highlight of that stretch was a four-pitch strikeout of Yoan Moncada, using four filthy curveballs to attack the bottom of the zone.
Bieber didn’t walk a batter until the ninth inning and finished the game with 11 strikeouts, marking his 15th consecutive start with at least eight strikeouts. That is the longest streak in franchise history, surpassing Corey Kluber’s previous record.
Giolito was equally as effective, scattering three hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings of work. As expected, he used a steady diet of fastballs and changeups to stymie Cleveland’s listless lineup, with the latter pitch recording a 43% CSW% by night’s end. Eddie Rosario had the most success against him, roping a double in the second inning and reaching base on a swinging bunt single in the fourth. Giolito exited in the eighth with eight strikeouts.
Though I feel obligated to point out that Ben Gamel and Jake Bauers accounted for five of those punch-outs. I recognize we’re only 10 games into the season, but I don’t know how much more of Gamel and Bauers I can endure. Gamel, who batted leadoff for the third time this season, dropped to 0-for-12. Bauers at least has a hit to his name, but is now 1-for-16 to start the year.