The odds were against the White Sox from the start on this one. Justin Masterson, Cleveland’s ace, held the ball for the Indians while the Sox were represented by one Felipe Paulino. It seemed early that Paulino knew something that we didn’t, pitching to the score before there was a score. Both pitchers got hit around quite a bit, trading leads until both men had yielded enough runs for tickets to the shower, allowing the bullpens to decide this one on even ground. Spoiler alert: the White Sox bullpen failed, and the White Sox find themselves back at .500 by way of an 12-6 loss.
Early scoring came by way of a Paulino unable to locate, issuing 2 walks, bookended by a pair of singles, the latter of which came off the bat of Michael Brantley and plated 2 runs. A groundout from Asdrubal Cabrera scored another in the inning and despite the offensive success the White Sox have shown thus far, there was a fear that Masterson had all the run support he would need.
It wasn’t enough. The Sox struck back immediately, claiming the lead in their half of the inning behind the strength of singles from Conor Gillaspie, Adam Dunn, and Alejandro De Aza. The hits helped cash in on Adam Eaton’s lead-off walk and an error on Mike Aviles that allowed Leury Garcia to reach base.
The Sox showed some diversity in their methods of scoring runs. In addition to the singles driven attack in the first, Adam Eaton hit his first homerun of the year in the 2nd inning, a solo shot, and Alexei Ramirez salvaged the second of two consecutive innings of bases loaded situations by sliding niftily around a Carlos Santana tag at the plate in the 5th and netting the White Sox only run of the opportunities. Alexei continues his ridiculously hot hitting, riding a 13 game hit streak and a .413 batting average.
Paulino did not require that much creativity from Indians hitters. Daniel Murphy hit a solo homerun in the 2nd inning, and three innings later Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis went back-to-back.
Despite the lack of success, Paulino went 5 innings. The reason was mysterious to nobody who’s been paying any attention. The bullpen for the White sox has been troublesome to say the least and that trend was not altered this go-round. Belisario managed a clean 6th, but when he came out for the 7th things got a little sketchy. A single and a walk created a situation for Robin Ventura to bring in Scott Downs to face Michael Brantley, good old-fashion lefty on lefty fun. Downs failed to do his one job, walking Brantley and making his exit with the bases loaded. Daniel Webb came in and was able to wiggle out but not before allowing Belisario’s baserunners to score on a single by Ryan Raburn, giving the Indians a lead that they held on to for good. Donnie Veal was asked to pitch an extended share; he faced 11 batters and allowed 4 runs in the process, making the final score an ugly one.
The Indians bullpen proved more effective than the home team’s. All of the White Sox 6 runs were charged to Masterson, with the exception of Garcia’s, which was unearned. The Indians ‘pen completed 4 1/3 innings without allowing a run.