CHICAGO -- Brandon Guyer led the Majors in hit-by-pitches a year ago. It's not something the Indians outfielder likes to call a skill, but his knack for picking up bruises helped the Indians to a 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Saturday night, extending Cleveland's winning streak to nine
CHICAGO -- Brandon Guyer led the Majors in hit-by-pitches a year ago. It's not something the Indians outfielder likes to call a skill, but his knack for picking up bruises helped the Indians to a 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Saturday night, extending Cleveland's winning streak to nine games. With the Royals' loss, the Indians now have a three-game lead in the American League Central.
"The goal going up to the plate is to get a run," Guyer said. "That's not how I want to do it, but at the end of the day, it helped our team win a game. I'll take it."
With two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Guyer came off the bench as a pinch-hitter to face White Sox righty Gregory Infante. After hitting Yan Gomes with a pitch, Infante did the same to Guyer, who was hit an MLB-leading 31 times last season. Guyer took a pitch off the left forearm, took his base, and then closer Cody Allen made the one-run lead hold up by picking up the save for the Indians.
"The poor guy," Indians relief ace Andrew Miller said with a laugh, referring to Guyer. "I think everybody celebrating in the dugout was just kind of like salt in the wound. Just to find a way to win, it doesn't really matter. ... It seems like he's OK, so I think we'll be fine. Fortunately, if anybody's used to it, it's got to be him."
"That's not the way you want to write it up, but that's what ended up happening," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "We fell behind early, but we ended up scrapping."
Indians ace Corey Kluber struck out 12 and issued only one walk, but the White Sox tagged him for four runs on nine hits. That marked the most runs Kluber has allowed since May 2 -- an outing that preceded a month-long stay on the disabled list. Melky Cabrera led the charge with four hits off Kluber, but the biggest blow was a three-run homer by Jose Abreu in the third.
"Abreu ambushed a first-pitch fastball," Kluber said. "I think he knows that guys have been trying to get him out in, and he jumped on one early."
Kluber was taken out of the mix for the win in the sixth inning, when Tim Anderson flared a pitch down the right-field line for an RBI double that put the game in a 4-4 deadlock. The fly ball had only a 22-percent hit probability, according to Statcast™, but dropped to the grass just by the glove of right fielder Austin Jackson.
Following Kluber's 6 1/3 innings, relief ace Miller gave the Tribe 1 2/3 frames to give Cleveland's offense a chance to mount a rally.
White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez picked up a no-decision after being charged with four runs on six hits in six innings. The right-hander ended with four strikeouts and three walks, allowing all four runs in his first three frames. Edwin Encarnacion and Jackson each delivered an RBI hit off Gonzalez.
"After that fourth inning, I started feeling a little better, doing a bit more split-finger fastballs," Gonzalez said. "I was able to calm down and make a better adjustment right there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Miller time: Miller took over for Kluber in the seventh, inheriting a one-out jam with runners on the corners. The left-hander then hit Yoan Moncada with a pitch to load the bases for Matt Davidson. Miller's second pitch to Davidson struck the batter in the back leg, but it was deemed a strike on a check-swing attempt. Renteria argued the call with home-plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but to no avail. Miller then struck out Davidson and pinch-hitter Kevan Smith to strand three runners.
"It just looked funny the way everybody reacted," Miller said of the check-swing strike to Davidson. "He didn't have the instinct to go to first base, [catcher Gomes] didn't chase after the ball. For me, I was kind of just processing [what happened]. I threw a couple that were really good, but they weren't exactly where I wanted them, especially when there's no room for error. So in a sense, I got lucky."
Kluber's escape: Trailing by one run, Cabrera and Yolmer Sanchez put the White Sox in an opportunistic situation in the fifth with consecutive one-out singles. Next up was Abreu, who homered in his previous at-bat for his fourth career blast off Kluber. Unfazed, the Tribe ace leaned on his cutter for back-to-back strikeouts of Abreu (swinging) and Moncada (looking) to end the threat.
"It's nice. It's needed -- very much needed right now. This is a good time to do it, going into the Trade Deadline. You're trying to establish yourself as a club and where you stand. Kansas City's coming pretty quick, and Minnesota's still not far behind. We wish we could've done this a little earlier in the year. We'll take it at this point." -- Allen, on the Indians' nine-game winning streak
"That's the last thing in my mind. I'm here trying to help the team win. That's what it's all about." --Gonzalez, when asked if he thought at all about his name coming up during trade rumors with Monday's non-waiver Deadline approaching.
MONCADA'S GLOVE WORK
Moncada, the Majors' top prospect per MLBPipeline.com, executed highlight-reel plays on back-to-back pitches in the top of the fourth. Moncada first ranged up the middle toward the shortstop side of second base to grab an Erik Gonzalez grounder and then threw across his body in the same motion to Abreu at first for the out.
Bradley Zimmer then tried to lay down a bunt on the next pitch and actually got it past a diving Gonzalez. But Moncada made the play and flipped it with his glove to Abreu for the second out.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
When Kluber struck out Tim Anderson in the fourth inning, the Indians' ace notched at least eight strikeouts for the 11th straight start. That extended Kluber's club record, and it represents the longest such run in the Majors since Pedro Martinez also had eight or more punchouts in 11 consecutive outings from June 20 to Aug. 16, 2002.
With his four-hit showing against Kluber, Cabrera is now batting .472 (17-for-36) in his career against the Cleveland right-hander.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the fifth inning, Michael Brantley drove a pitch from Gonzalez to deep right field, where the ball bounced off the warning track and into the stands. It was ruled a home run initially, but the call was overturned via a brief crew-chief review. Brantley returned to second base and was correctly credited with a ground-rule double.
Indians: Right-hander Josh Tomlin (7-9, 5.59 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Tribe in a 2:10 p.m. ET tilt against the White Sox on Sunday in Chicago. Tomlin has given up 10 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings (two starts) against the White Sox this season, but has gone 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA, 17 strikeouts and one walk over his past three outings (20 1/3 innings).
White Sox:Carlos Rodon makes his sixth start of the season in Sunday's series finale against the Indians, with a 1:10 p.m. CT first pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field. Rodon matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in his last start against the Cubs, but lasted only four innings and was dealt a loss.
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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.