Guardians’ comeback victory drops White Sox five games out of first place

The Cleveland Guardians made quick work of the White Sox’ designs on a sweep Tuesday, coming from behind for a 10-7 victory in 11 innings in the first of a three-game series. The result dropped the Sox five games out of first place with 14 left to play and clinched the season series and tiebreaker for Cleveland.

The Guardians scored five runs in the 11th inning. The Sox scored two meaningless runs in the 11th on AJ Pollock’s two-run homer, his 1,000th career hit.

Josh Naylor’s RBI single and Oscar Gonzalez’ sacrifice fly pushed two runs across against Kendall Graveman in the 10th after the Guardians scored two in the seventh to erase a 3-1 deficit. The Sox scored twice in the 10th but Cleveland (81-67) erupted with five runs against Jake Diekman in the 11th, lowering its magic number to win the AL Central to 10.

Diekman gave up five on three hits and a walk in the 11th, the tiebreaking shot a two-run double by Myles Straw.

After a 40-minute rain delay, the Sox got the performance they’ve come to expect from Cy Young candidate Dylan Cease (2.13 ERA), who pitched six innings of one-run ball, exiting with the Guardians in front 1-0.

The Sox then scored three in the sixth against Aaron Civale and Nick Sandlin. Eloy Jimenez singled in the first run and two runs scored when AJ Pollock beat out a double play and shortstop Amed Rosario’s throw skipped past first baseman Owen Miller.

The inning started with Elvis Andrus’ RBI single, a walk to Yoan Moncada and Abreu getting grazed by a Sandlin pitch.

But reliever Jimmy Lambert walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh, and both turned into runs, the first scoring on Steven Kwan’s single and the second when Jose Ramirez beat out a ball hit to Andrus in the hole at shortstop for a single.

The Sox caught a break when Amed Rosario made the third out trying to score from second when Andrus made a diving stop in the hole. Rosario appeared to beat catcher Seby Zavala’s sweeping tag but umpire Shane Livensparger called him safe and the Guardians had used their challenge.

Cleveland led 1-0 in the second on Austin Hedges’ sacrifice fly to right field that followed Andres Gimenez’ unconventional leadoff triple. Left fielder AJ Pollock stumbled and fell near the foul line chasing down Gimenez’ slicing fly ball, allowing Gimenez to get three bases.

Civale, meanwhile, held the Sox scoreless through five innings.

The Sox wouldn’t go so far as to say they needed a sweep but they knew it was vital to their chances. They also know sweeps come one game at a time.

And they know they have no one to blame but themselves for the spot they’re in.

“Obviously, we’ve put ourselves in a position where we’re not exactly thrilled with,” Hendriks said.

Of late, under acting manager Miguel Cairo, the Sox have played well enough to give themselves a puncher’s chance.

There are 14 games left after Tuesday, and just two against Cleveland, which needed one win to clinch the 162-game tiebreaker.

Prohibitive favorites to win the division at the outset of the season, the Sox are now rallying around the underdog role.

“It’s a lot easier to go out there and play you get that chip on your shoulder when you’re not expected to do anything,” Hendriks said.

No one expected the Guardians to do anything and now they’re the team to beat.

“Look, they’ve played phenomenal over the last little bit,” Hendriks said. “Even when we’ve been playing well, they’ve been matching it or beating it. It’s been frustrating in that regard. I think they have to have some confidence, but in saying that, it’s a lot easier coming up from behind than it is to be looking over your shoulder. And that’s something that we have the advantage of this time.”

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