CLEVELAND — Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jiménez hit sacrifice flies and the Chicago White Sox scored four runs in the ninth inning — three charged to ineffective Cleveland closer Brad Hand — to beat the Indians 4-0 on Wednesday night.
The Indians got eight terrific innings from No. 5 starter Zach Plesac. He struck out a career-high 11, shut out the White Sox on three hits and continued a strong run of Cleveland pitching to start the season.
Rookie Luis Robert hit a two-run single in the ninth as Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak and salvaged one game in the series.
Chicago starter Lucas Giolito matched Plesac pitch for pitch through six, holding the Indians scoreless on four hits. It was a nice bounce back by the All-Star right-hander, who gave up a home run in Minnesota on his first pitch of the season and was touched for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.
The White Sox couldn’t do anything against Plesac, who didn’t allow a walk. The right-hander broke a couple bats, made Tim Anderson smash his in frustration near the plate and befuddled Chicago’s hitters. But once he was pulled after throwing 97 pitches, the White Sox went to work against Hand (0-1).
Anderson doubled leading off the ninth before Hand walked Yoán Moncada and José Abreu to load the bases. Grandal, who struck out twice against Plesac, then delivered the game’s first run with a liner to right.
After Hand was pulled, Jiménez, who was back in the lineup missing three games following a collision with the left-field wall in Minnesota, hit his sacrifice fly off Adam Cimber and Robert hit a two-run single.
Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth off Alex Colomé, who finally closed it out to protect the win for Aaron Bummer (1-0).
The Indians have opened the season with six consecutive starters pitching at least six innings while allowing two runs or fewer. The last team to do that was the 1993 Atlanta Braves, whose staff included Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine.
Cleveland last did it in 1905, when the team was known as the Naps.
Before the game, the Indians placed Gold Glove catcher Roberto Pérez on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder injury. He got hurt in the season opener making an off-balance throw to first.
The Indians hit the road under the harrowing cloud of coronavirus.
The outbreak among Miami’s players has raised anxiety, and manager Terry Francona said the situation allowed the team to re-visit some protocols before opening a four-game series at Minnesota on Thursday.
“This will be a big test for us,” he said. “We haven’t been outside of our bubble. We practiced here, we played here. Now we’re going to go on the road for the first time. So it’s going to be important that we don’t take any missteps.”
White Sox: RHP Jimmy Lambert was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained forearm. He has pitched two scoreless innings in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Indians: OF Tyler Naquin is still limited with a fracture in his big right toe and can’t run the bases. OF Delino DeShields Jr. has made progress as he increases activity after testing positive for COVID-19.
White Sox: Off before opening a three-game series at Kansas City on Friday with Dallas Keuchel starting.
Indians: Shane Bieber, who has added a cutter to his repertoire, starts the opener of a three-game series against the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins. Bieber struck out 14 Kansas City Royals in his opening-day start, the most Ks in an opener since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson’s 14 in 1996. José Berríos starts for Minnesota.