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Cease chased, rally falls short in G1 of DH

@scottmerkin
July 28, 2020

Missed opportunities on offense and a less-than-stellar 2020 debut for right-hander Dylan Cease cost the White Sox during a 4-3 loss to Cleveland in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday at Progressive Field. • Box score Cease, who had looked locked in during Summer Camp and intrasquad work, struggled locating

Missed opportunities on offense and a less-than-stellar 2020 debut for right-hander Dylan Cease cost the White Sox during a 4-3 loss to Cleveland in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday at Progressive Field.

Box score

Cease, who had looked locked in during Summer Camp and intrasquad work, struggled locating his fastball and allowed four runs over 2 1/3 innings. That total included Francisco Lindor’s two-run homer in the first and Bradley Zimmer’s solo blast in the second. Cease threw 34 of his 64 pitches for strikes, striking out just one and inducing four swinging strikes, per Statcast. He threw 28 pitches in the first and 24 more in the second.

“I just wasn't very sharp today. Bad fastball command, bouncing my offspeed, not getting ahead. Just not a good game,” Cease said. “The biggest thing is just not to get too down in the dumps about it, just continue the process.

“It's baseball, it's going to happen. You're going to have bad starts, you're going to have good starts. So it's just staying even-keeled, continue to put the work in and continue to compete."

Despite spotting Cleveland a 3-0 lead, the White Sox fought back against Aaron Civale, who fanned nine. Tim Anderson hit his first home run of the season to go with two doubles, and José Abreu drove in a run with a groundout, but it might have been the fourth and eighth innings ultimately deciding the White Sox outcome.

They loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and Luis Robert worked Civale ahead in the count at 3-1, before grounding back to the mound leading to a force at the plate. Leury García grounded out to end the inning with no runs scoring. The White Sox loaded the bases again with one out in the eighth, with singles from Nicky Delmonico and Robert off of Nick Wittgren. But García grounded to first baseman Carlos Santana leading to a force at the plate, and pinch-hitter Zack Collins flied out to left as the culmination of a seven-pitch at-bat.

The White Sox had at least one runner on base in every inning but the second. They finished 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.

“Everybody did what they could do,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria, who rejoined the team before batting practice after testing negative for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure Monday. “They minimized the damage.

“When we were bringing those guys in, we got baserunners, we had a couple opportunities to put some runs across, we didn't do it. But the more opportunities you give yourself in the long run, I believe you'll convert, but I hope and expect that we will."

Ross Detwiler pitched two perfect innings in relief, meaning he has faced 15 hitters this season and retired all of them. Five White Sox relievers struck out seven and allowed two hits over 5 2/3 innings, as the White Sox fell to 1-3.

"I personally can't afford to magnify it. I've got to take it just one game at a time,” Renteria said. “We're going to try to come back out in the second game and do what we can, try to win a ballgame. This one's gone, I can't bring it back."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.