It didn’t take long for Chicago to get on the board. Tribe killer Alejandro De Aza led off the game with a walk, then was replaced at first base by Gordon Beckham after Beckham hit into a fielder’s choice. The scorching-hot Adam Dunn then connected off Gomez for a two-run shot to put the White Sox ahead, 2-0.
The White Sox struck again in the fourth—but with more force. A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez, Eduardo Escobar, De Aza, and Beckham all came up with run-scoring hits as Chicago batted around and knocked Gomez around for six runs. After three-and-a-half, the White Sox led, 8-0.
Cleveland couldn’t put anything together until the seventh. With the bases loaded and one out, Jason Donald reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Carlos Santana. It was the only run the Indians would score; both teams’ bats were quiet from there on out and the White Sox pulled off an 8-1 win as the teams ended up splitting the four-game series.
The Good: Shin-Soo Choo and Casey Kotchman both had good days at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a walk. It wasn’t much, but Jake Peavy was dominant for the White Sox and both Choo and Kotchman were in need of a game like that.
It was also good to see Jeanmar Gomez bounce back from the rough fourth inning—the game was already out of reach, but that he managed to keep his composure and retire 10 of the last 12 batters he faced has to be worth something. Also noteworthy: Jairo Asencio threw 2.1 innings of shutdown mop-up ball without allowing a hit or a walk. Anything that helps keep the bullpen fresh is a good sign at this point.
The Bad: It was just a bad day for Gomez. He gave up eight runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings, allowing four walks and a home run while racking up only two strikeouts. He’s earned some good will after his strong start to the season (he entered the game with a 2.82 ERA in his first five games), but even so it was discouraging.
It’s also never a good sign when your offense scores only one run in a game. Peavy’s been lights out this year and the Indians have already shown that they can hit, but it’s hard to win with so little run support.
The “Huh?”: How long of a leash does Johnny Damon going have in the leadoff spot? He’s hitting .167/.194/.267 in his first eight games—it’s a small sample size, but he clearly hasn’t looked very good at the plate. Yet Manny Acta is still putting him at the top of the order. It seems pretty clear that the Indians would be better off with Shin-Soo Choo, or even Michael Brantley.
Interesting Tidbit: Wednesday was the first time Jeanmar Gomez had allowed more than three walks in a game in almost two years. The last time: he gave up four free passes on September 25, 2010.