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Triston McKenzie Ks career-high 14 as Guardians rally late to sink White Sox

Cleveland rode a four-run seventh inning to victory

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

I must admit, watching the Cleveland Guardians get dominated by Lance Lynn was not fun.

Fortunately, the fun started shortly after he hit the showers.

Trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, Luke Maile stroked a one-out double to left field, eventually scoring on a two-out Steven Kwan triple. The Guardians would take the lead on an Amed Rosario RBI single through the left side of the infield, but the scoring did not stop there. After back-to-back walks to Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor, Andres Gimenez did what he does late in games, lining a two-run single through a gap in the White Sox’s infield to give Cleveland a three-run lead.

Once the Guardians took the lead, Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to close out the 5-2 comeback win over the White Sox.

The Guardians’ four-run seventh inning stood in stark contrast to the previous six innings, during which they struggled to do much of anything against Lynn. Cleveland hitters were undisciplined early, chasing fastballs up and out of the strike zone as Lynn racked up five strikeouts through the first three innings. He was handed a 2-0 lead before he even took the mound and proceeded to limit the Guardians to five hits, one walk, and one earned run over 5.2 innings.

Jose Ramirez finally broke through against Lynn with a solo home run in the sixth inning, but it could have been a game-tying home run if not for the bone-headed baserunning of Amed Rosario. Before Ramirez came to the plate, Rosario singled to right-center and tried to stretch a single into a double but was tagged out by Elvis Andrus well short of the bag.

Prior to the seventh inning, Cleveland seemed set to squander a gutsy outing from Triston McKenzie, who ran into trouble in the first inning before settling into a groove.

His fastball did not have much life in the first inning, and the White Sox responded in kind, tagging him for two runs on four hits to take a 2-0 lead. But after inducing an inning-ending double play, McKenzie quieted the White Sox from there, leaning more on his curveball and slider to great success. Chicago would only reach base twice the next six innings as McKenzie went seven innings, racking up a career-high 14 strikeouts while holding them at bay.

According to Baseball Savant, McKenzie’s 25 swings & misses are the ninth-most by a Cleveland pitcher in the Statcast era, trailing the likes of Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, and Shane Bieber.

The Guardians lost Austin Hedges in the fifth inning when he slid into the dugout trying to corral a wild pitch. He came up limping and was pulled from the game with a sprained ankle, replaced by Luke Maile. Shortly after Hedges exited, top catching prospect Bo Naylor was pulled from the game in Triple-A Columbus, which I can’t imagine is a coincidence.