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Covey's fine start not enough to lift White Sox

Righty goes 6 strong, but Indians rally on grand slam in 9th
September 19, 2018

CLEVELAND -- Hardly any good comes from letting the leadoff batter reach in the ninth inning of a one-run game.Such was the case on Wednesday night, when the White Sox bullpen had no answer for the surging Indians, as Jason Kipnis' walk-off grand slam off Ian Hamilton handed Chicago a

CLEVELAND -- Hardly any good comes from letting the leadoff batter reach in the ninth inning of a one-run game.
Such was the case on Wednesday night, when the White Sox bullpen had no answer for the surging Indians, as Jason Kipnis' walk-off grand slam off Ian Hamilton handed Chicago a 4-1 loss and spoiled a fine start by right-hander Dylan Covey at Progressive Field.
"We battled," manager Rick Renteria said. "These guys battled. It's a situation where you got a lot of guys on that side that can swing the bat and you're trying to do everything you can to keep them at bay. It didn't work out.
Juan Minaya closed out the eighth inning with a strikeout, but he surrendered an infield single to Josh Donaldson to lead off the ninth. Renteria opted to bring on lefty Caleb Frare, who faced two batters, as he allowed a pinch-hit single to Yandy Diaz and retired Melky Cabrera on a popup bunt attempt. Renteria went back to the 'pen to get Hamilton, who hit Yan Gomes to load the bases before serving up the slam to Kipnis, who turned on a full-count changeup for his 1,000th career hit and 17th homer of the season.

"He probably saw it right out of my hands," Hamilton said.
The White Sox have now lost the first two in this three-game series and eight consecutive at Progressive Field, the most since losing 11 in a row on the road from May 25, 1931-May 30, 1932.
"It wasn't for lack of effort," said Daniel Palka, who went 1-for-4, including a home run in the sixth off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco that gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead. "For it to kind of just slip away in the ninth was tough. But it wasn't ugly, per se. Just stuff fell in."
Covey, who was in line for his first win since Aug. 31, held the Tribe to two hits across six shutout innings The right-hander struck out five and walked three in a no-decision.
"Today, I wasn't really focusing on the score," Covey said. "It was kind of just like, all right, one inning at a time, one batter at a time. Put myself in a couple holes, but kind of kept that same mentality."

Covey escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third inning by striking out Yonder Alonso on an 88-mph changeup. After Alonso's strikeout, Covey retired the final 10 batters he faced and finished his outing with 95 pitches, the most he's thrown since Aug. 18, when he went 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Royals.
Renteria said it was an encouraging sign for Covey, who recorded 14 groundouts.
"He did a great job," Renteria said. "He looked very, very good. His ball had a lot of good action. I would venture to say if you asked the guys over there, the ball he was using today was moving pretty strong."
The 27-year-old Covey felt he successfully mixed his pitches, and was especially effective with his cutter. It was the deepest Covey has pitched into a game since going 8 1/3 innings in a win over the Mariners on July 21.
"I think today is the best my stuff has been all year," Covey said. "Even better than some of those games where I went a little bit deeper ... these guys have beaten me before when I tried to climb the ladder a little bit with them."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Palka one-out go-ahead homer in the sixth inning off Carrasco, who racked up 11 strikeouts over his six strong innings, was his third homer in three games and his 26th of the season, which tied Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. for the lead among rookies.

"I'm not sure what pitch it was, but I was just looking low in the zone," Palka said. "It was just up enough for me to get under it."
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Donaldson's leadoff single in the ninth was ruled to stand after a review. The Tribe's new third baseman took a half-swing at a 2-2 changeup from Minaya, who scooped it up in front of the mound and fired to first. But Donaldson was ruled safe by first-base umpire Ryan Blakney.

UP NEXT
White Sox right-hander James Shields (7-16, 4.53 ERA) will start the series finale against the Indians at 6:10 p.m. CT on Thursday at Progressive Field. Shields is 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA over his last five starts, and he is 5-8 in 22 career starts against the Tribe. Righty Josh Tomlin (1-5, 6.59 ERA) will start for Cleveland.

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.