Zach McAllister outdueled White Sox starter Chris Sale, Nick Swisher connected on two solo bombs and the Indians rolled past the White Sox 7-1 on their way to a sweep and their 81st win of the season.
The game was originally delayed four hours and 23 minutes due to rain, but once things got started, there was no stoppage in the Indians offense.
It all started in the second inning when recently recalled left fielder Matt Carson knocked in Carlos Santana with a two-out RBI single. Carson didn’t stop in his second at-bat, blasting a 95-mph fastball from Sale into right center field for his sixth career home run and his first since 2010 with the A’s. Carson finished the night 3-3 with a hit-by-pitch, the first time in his career in which he reached base four times.
Nick Swisher has found the perfect time to get hot, and he made sure everyone knew in the sixth inning with his 19th home run of the season. That solo shot to left field put the Indians ahead 3-0, and they weren’t done there. With runners on first and second and one out, Asdrubal Cabrera sent a Chris Sale changeup on a rope over the left field fence for his 14th home run of the season, putting the Indians up decisively 6-0. The Indians’ onslaught of Chris Sale continued, as Sale has allowed 22 runs in 24 innings against the Tribe this season. Sale finished with 5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 3 BB and 7 SO.
Swish Daddy added the final Indians run in the ninth inning off reliever Ramon Troncoso with his 20th home run of the season. 20 home runs is a milestone we all wished Swisher would hit this season, and he got to that number in a big way tonight.
As for the pitching, Zach McAllister dominated the game. McAllister went 6 2/3 innings, allowing only six hits and one earned run – a Josh Phegley RBI-single in the seventh inning. McAllister struck out five White Sox hitters while surrendering only one walk, a testament to his improved control. When McAllister can locate his curveball and still wow his hitters with his fastball, he is a dangerous pitcher.
Bryan Shaw relieved McAllister in the seventh inning and pitched a scoreless eighth. Cody Allen pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
With this victory, the Indians improve to 81-68 with 13 games to go. The Indians need to finish 10-3 to achieve my prediction of 91 wins at the beginning of this season, by far the most optimistic of all IPL writers.
AL Wild Card standings:
1) Tampa Bay (–)
2) Texas (–)
3) Cleveland (-0.5)
4) Baltimore (-2.5)
5) New York (-2.5)
6) Kansas City (-3.5)
As you can see, the Indians are now only 1/2 game back of the Wild Card. And since Tampa Bay and Texas face each other tomorrow, if the Indians win, they will be ahead in the Wild Card Standings.
W – Zach McAllister (8-9)
L – Chris Sale (11-13)
A – 18,631