In rare moment of fraternity and compassion in these otherwise cutthroat major leagues, the White Sox saw their AL Central rival working hard to complete a much-needed sweep that would bring them even with the Detroit Tigers, and magnanimously bellowed out to heavens, “Here, let me get that for you.”
After just 112 pitches from a solitary Justin Masterson and in a tidy running time of two hours and twenty-nine minutes, the Indians were headed to their plane with a 4-0 victory, a share of the division lead and possibly–depending on what rumors you believe–sandwiches and juice boxes for all.
When the White Sox troubled the Indians with runners on base, they quickly corrected their error by grounding into four double plays. While Chris Sale was mostly excellent, he took a break in the fourth inning to allow a two-out ringing double to Ryan Raburn and a ripped single to left by Carlos Santana in rapid succession, ensuring an inning that began with Drew Stubbs breaking up his perfect start with a bunt down the third base line ended in two runs.
Two-straight blows to the wall to start the fifth inning from Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes ensured another Cleveland tally, after which Sale snapped out of the doldrums as if it was some sort of brief fog of the mind. Sale struck out five over his final four innings of work to give himself 10 on the day. He pitched over a double and a wild pitch in the eighth, which was a fun exercise since the Sox were down three runs, hopeless on offense and working Sale over the 120-pitch mark with an off-day on Monday.
Things got weird in the ninth inning; perhaps the Indians needed time to gas their jet still. Robin Ventura cycled through three relievers–which still resulted in a run because Matt Lindstrom is a mess at the moment. Justin Masterson struck out the first two batters, but suffered through a grinding at-bat from Alejandro De Aza, who was looking to redeem himself after getting picked off first by the catcher earlier.
After De Aza flipped a single to left, Masterson fell behind 2-0 to Alexei Ramirez before plunking him in the back. For fans whose eyes glazed over during the laborious top half of the inning, Alex Rios stepping up to the plate with a chance to tie the game brought some excitement. But Rios stared at strike three on the outside edge, completing his sub-.700 OPS month and Masterson’s third shutout of the season.
T’was a lovely day outside. In the third inning, Hector Santiago’s visage appeared on the jumbotron and delivered weird jokes without a hint a humor in his voice and neither contestant in the mid-inning “Name That Song” contest could recognize Hall & Oates. What a day.
Team Record: 32-47
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