White Sox sweep up Indians with late rally
Sierra walks off with game-winning hit in ninth; Noesi sharp for 7 1/3
CHICAGO -- Somewhere in the middle of the White Sox 3-2 victory over the Indians on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, starting pitcher Hector Noesi made a special request of Moises Sierra.
"I think it was in the sixth inning, I told him, 'You gotta do something for me,'" said a smiling Noesi. "He did it in the last inning."
After Noesi turned in quite possibly his best start since moving to the rotation, Sierra answered his friend's request in the ninth. Sierra singled to right over the leaping attempt of first baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and brought home pinch-runner Leury Garcia with the team's sixth game-ending hit this season.
This victory completed a three-game sweep of the struggling Indians (24-30), improving the White Sox head-to-head mark against Cleveland to 7-3 after Cleveland won 17 of the 19 last year. The White Sox also moved over .500 for the first time since May 9 with the support of two waiver claims pressed into service because of a rash of key injuries.
"To win games, you like to talk about different people every night because it takes the whole roster to be able to do it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "With the injuries and things that happened to us early, waiver claims are doing that. We went out and you start getting guys and bringing them in, these guys have been a good fit so far."
"That's a great thing today," said Sierra through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz of his one-out hit. "I feel very happy. I feel very thankful to God to get the opportunity to contribute to the team and help win."
Sierra's game-winning shot, on a 3-2, 92-mph cutter from Bryan Shaw (1-1), was set up by third baseman Mike Aviles' error on Tyler Flowers' leadoff grounder. Garcia swiped second and moved to third on Marcus Semien's flyout to right before Sierra connected for his first walk-off hit.
The White Sox scored a go-ahead run in the eighth inning, when reliever Cody Allen walked Gordon Beckham with one out and Conor Gillaspie moved him to third with a hit-and-run single to left. Dayan Viciedo walked to load the bases, and Adam Dunn's sacrifice fly brought home Beckham ahead of left fielder Michael Brantley's throw.
Cleveland didn't waste much time evening the score, pushing one across against closer Ronald Belisario (3-3) in the top of the ninth.
Yan Gomes delivered the two-out, two-strike game-tying hit, as Brantley, who reached on a leadoff single off of Belisario's right hip, beat Sierra's strong throw to the plate. The inning got an extra out when Dunn's throw to second on an attempt to complete a double play on Brantley off of a Jason Kipnis grounder to first sailed over the head of shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
No error was charged, and it would have been a close play even with a perfect throw. Ventura elected to intentionally walk Jason Giambi, who had homered in the second off of Noesi, following Chisenhall's fly out to put the go-ahead run on base. Belisario said that he doesn't like to walk anybody, so he wanted to challenge the Indians' veteran slugger, but instead the game was left up to Gomes, and a third blown save for the right-hander was the result.
Combine the current win totals of Noesi and Cleveland starter T.J. House and you get zero. Neither pitcher had an ERA below 6.43 when the first pitch was thrown from Noesi to Michael Bourn, so it wasn't exactly the makings of a pitchers' duel. But that's exactly what happened.
Noesi didn't get the loss, but he didn't get the win either. He is now 0-14 with a 5.87 ERA over his last 40 appearances, including 19 starts. He deserved a better fate on Wednesday, allowing just one run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings, while striking out five and not issuing a walk.
"He was locating. He was throwing his changeup," said Giambi of Noesi, who threw 96 pitches. "He hit both the inside corner and outside corner. You have to tip your cap. He threw the ball great tonight."
"That's what I want, that's what I'm working hard for, [going] deeper [in games]," Noesi said. "I want to throw a complete game and maybe it's going to take a few weeks, but I'm trying to get that and go deeper every time."
House struck out eight and walked one over 6 1/3 innings, leaving the game with a runner on third and one out in the seventh. He actually allowed singles to Dunn and Ramirez to open that frame, but Ramirez was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double.
After Flowers' groundout with the infield in, Semien rescued the White Sox with another late-inning clutch hit as his two-strike, two-out single to center off of Scott Atchison tied the game at 1.
It was the biggest two-strike hit of the night until Sierra propelled the White Sox to their seventh win in 10 games.
"These guys feel like they can score late. They get momentum late in the game when somebody gets on," Ventura said. "They did a good job there. Leury steals a base, Marcus gets him over and Moises gets him in.
"If you're going to pick a way to do it, that's a good way to do it. Hector was great tonight. I thought he pitched a great game. It's just nice to score late and win this series."