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Listless Tribe loses again

By JOE NOGA • Updated Sep 5, 2019 at 6:48 PM

CLEVELAND — White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez mowed through the Cleveland Indians lineup Thursday in leading Chicago to a 7-1 victory to earn a split in the four-game series at Progressive Field.

Lopez stymied Cleveland’s offense, tossing his first career complete game and allowing just one hit while striking out 11 on 109 pitches. It was Lopez’s second victory against Cleveland in three starts this season and his first career road win in four outings.

Lopez (9-12, 5.23) surrendered an RBI double to Kevin Plawecki in the second inning, but went on to retire 22 out of the next 23 batters he faced, including the final 16 straight. He allowed only a two-out walk to Mike Freeman in the fourth after Plawecki’s double.

“A young pitcher, we’ve seen him throw four or five innings, but not carry it through the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Lopez. “But suddenly his stuff is good enough to play, and they’re attacking the strike zone. Same thing with (Dylan) Cease on Tuesday. They attacked the zone, and he had a fastball and breaking ball and stayed in the zone ... he was able to get ahead of us pretty much all game.”

Meanwhile, Chicago catcher Wellington Castillo had his way at the plate with a pair of doubles and a two-run homer. Castillo entered the game batting .199, but his leadoff double in the sixth sparked a three-run inning for the White Sox, who chased Indians starter Zach Plesac (7-6, 3.98) from the game after Dan Mendick’s two-strike bunt single loaded the bases.

Hunter Wood relieved Plesac and walked Yolmer Sanchez to force in a run and Adam Engel delivered a two-run single that gave Chicago a five-run advantage.

Plesac lost his second consecutive decision, surrendering six runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out four.

“When he missed his spots he paid for it,” Francona said of Plesac. “There’s been times when he doesn’t, just because he has some life to his fastball. But he missed today, trying to go down and away and missed middle in.

“He just didn’t command the ball,” he added. “Sometimes he still wants to be too quick to the plate and he rushes, and loses the ability to throw the ball where he wants to.”

The loss dropped the Indians (81-60) out of the American League postseason picture for the time being. 

Cleveland is one game behind both Oakland (81-58) and Tampa Bay (82-59) in the Wild Card Game chase. The Indians trail Minnesota by six games in the AL Central prior to the Twins’ game tonight in Boston. The Indians next head to Minneapolis for a three-game weekend series.

Chicago has won nine of 16 meetings with Cleveland, splitting the 10 games played at Progressive Field. The two teams meet at Guaranteed Rate Field for three more games Sept. 24-26.

The White Sox struck for a pair of runs in the second when Moncada reached on a pop to shallow left that Lindor lost in the sun. Castillo then connected on his ninth home run when he sent a Plesac fastball 380 feet to the bleachers.

Cleveland answered in the bottom of the frame, scoring on Plawecki’s RBI double that got over the head of Goins in right. Jake Bauers, who had walked with two outs, came around to score on Plawecki’s 16th RBI.

But Chicago added to its lead in the fourth after a Moncada leadoff double and an RBI single by Yolmer Sanchez. Moncada entered the game hitting .391 with a 1.235 OPS in 13 games this season against the Indians.

 

Up next

Cleveland opens a critical six-game road trip Friday in Minnesota against the Twins at Target Field. Righty Adam Plutko (6-4, 4.53) will start for the Indians against Minnesota right-hander Michael Pineda (11-5, 4.11). First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET. The game will air locally on SportsTime Ohio, WTAM 1100 AM and WMMS 100.7 FM.

Plutko is 0-1 with a 4.73 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against Minnesota. He allowed four runs in six innings during a 4-1 Indians road loss on Aug. 10. Pineda made one appearance against Cleveland earlier this season, pitching four scoreless innings and striking out five. In his career, he is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts against the Tribe.

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