CLEVELAND -- It was not the most orthodox rally for the Indians, but good teams know how to take advantage of opportunities.The Tribe rallied to put up five runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning, overcoming a shaky start from Adam Plutko in a 9-6 win over the
CLEVELAND -- It was not the most orthodox rally for the Indians, but good teams know how to take advantage of opportunities.
The Tribe rallied to put up five runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning, overcoming a shaky start from Adam Plutko in a 9-6 win over the White Sox on Monday at Progressive Field. The Indians' (27-25) bats came alive again leading to a third straight win, following an improbable rally against the Astros one night earlier.
"It's a good way to win," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Any time you keep pushing, or get a line moving, however you want to say it."
The White Sox were unable to put the Tribe away partly due to three errors in the critical frame. Yan Gomes led the inning off by reaching base on an error, but was taken off the basepaths on a fielder's choice. White Sox starter Dylan Covey was knocked out after giving up a single to Francisco Lindor and walking Michael Brantley to load the bases.
White Sox reliever Luis Avilan got Jose Ramirez to pop out on a first-pitch curveball, but White Sox manager Rick Renteria opted to go to the bullpen again with Edwin Encarnacion coming up. Encarnacion cleared the bases after his fly ball to shallow right field hit off the glove of a sliding Daniel Palka, who tried to avoid colliding with second baseman Yoan Moncada and first baseman Matt Skole.
After Encarnacion's hit, Renteria opted for the bullpen again to face Yonder Alonso. The move, however, backfired after Alonso doubled home Encarnacion. Alonso also came around to score after Melky Cabrera reached on an error by Moncada.
We took advantage, for sure," said Alonso, who finished 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. "No question about it. But, we came to play today. We played good defense. We pitched well. And we hit well. We hit well with two outs and I think that was really big."
Encarnacion widened the gap in the seventh with a solo homer, marking his 12th blast of the season.
Plutko's outing lasted five innings and he was responsible for giving up five runs on six hits, and improved to 3-0. The right-hander made a couple of mistakes when he allowed back-to-back home runs to Matt Skole and Tim Anderson.
"I didn't put together enough good, quality innings to what I feel like [would] really give my team a chance to win a ballgame," Plutko said. "And granted, they picked me up and did a phenomenal job in every facet of the game. I feel lucky today."
White Sox reliever Chris Volstad (0-3) was dealt the loss after giving up the deciding run in the tumultuous fifth inning.
The five-run rally comes a day after the Indians were able to overcome an 8-3 deficit to beat the Astros, 10-9 in 14 innings on Sunday.
"Guys are playing hard," Alonso said. "They're giving everything they've got. It says a lot about the guys that we have in here. A lot of guys that don't give up. A lot of guys that are busting it every single day and that's special."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Double trouble: Encarnacion's flukey 3-run double was the definitive play of the five-run frame. The bases-clearing knock was a shallow fly ball to center, that was deflected off the glove off a diving Palka.
"The ball hit my glove so it should have been caught," Palka said. "I was shifted out in the right-center gap and had a long way to go. The ball just popped out of my glove."
Encarnacion's blooper had a 99 percent catch probability, and just a two percent hit probability, according to Statcast™. The designated hitter finished the game 2-for-4, and now has 31 RBIs on the season, becoming the fourth Indians player -- along with Brantley, Ramirez and Alonso -- to reach 30 RBIs.
"He's picking it up," Francona said of Encarnacion. "He's getting more dangerous, more often, and we've all seen what he can do when he gets hot. He's working toward it."
Still streaking: Brantley's first-inning single extended the left fielder's hitting streak to 17 games, marking the longest active streak currently in the Majors. The hitting streak is the longest by an Indians player since Ramirez had an 18-game streak from July 26-Aug. 14, 2016.
Right-hander Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.32 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound on Tuesday, when the Indians host the White Sox in a 6:10 p.m. ET American League Central clash at Progressive Field. Clevinger has gone 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in two career outings against the White Sox. Chicago will counter with lefty Lucas Giolito (3-5, 7.53 ERA).
** Casey Harrison ** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.