Just the faintest notion of 100 losses would not be possible if it weren’t for a whole season’s worth of the Indians obliterating the White Sox like a steamroller crushing….crushing….something that was already mostly flat to begin with. Their 17th victory of the season over the Sox came as easy as any; a smooth 7-2 joyride over fill-in starter Dylan Axelrod that rarely hinted at being anything more than a playoff contender rolling over a doormat at the end of September.
The White Sox at least got their bright spot of the evening out of the way in a hurry. Avisail Garcia turned and pulled a first-pitch 94 mph fastball from Cleveland fireballer Danny Salazar in the top of the second, launching it into the deepest regions of the left field seats for his fifth home run in 38 games with his new team. It’s so, so, so very good to see Garcia show that kind of ability to turn around good velocity, and it gave the Sox a 1-0 lead; an advantage that Dylan Axelrod had no chance of holding.
Not that he was given much help. The Indians tied the game up the very next half inning when Marcus Semien was eaten up by a bad hop on a Drew Stubbs grounder, scoring Lonnie Chisenhall, and had another runner placed right back into scoring position when Alejandro De Aza threw the ball home, over the head of a nonexistent cutoff man and allowed Stubbs to make it to second, from where he would score on the very next at-bat when Michael Brantley singled.
While he did well to not receive a complete shelling, Axelrod did start giving up some runs to the sixth-best offense in the American League all on his own eventuall. A booming two-run shot from Nick Swisher in the fifth inning broke the game open beyond any reasonable expectations of a White Sox comeback, and a leadoff single to Asdrubal Cabrera followed by a walk and two sacrifice chase Axelrod from the game down 5-2.
Salazar didn’t strike out Chicago hitters until his arm tired again, but cruised into the sixth before two singles from Alexei Ramirez and Garcia brought the tying run up to the plate and relief help from Bryan Shaw. After a goofy RBI single from Dayan Viciedo that saw Viciedo try to take an extra base and the Indians botch the rundown it caused, back-to-back strikeouts from Jordan Danks and Semien on Shaw’s nasty mid-90’s cutter ended the threat.
Charlie Leesman came on for some garbage-time relief, walked a batter and plunked Jason Kipnis in the back with a wild curveball in 0.2 innings of work, got angrily pulled by a grumbly-looking Robin Ventura and was charged for two runs when a Cabrera single off Jake Petricka stretched it to 7-2.
A rehabbing Justin Masterson worked a scoreless ninth, just so that all the old tormentors got one last go-round on the AL Central punching bag.
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