CHICAGO – Jesse Crain allowed his first earned run since April, and it came at an unfortunate time for the White Sox.
Nick Swisher singled in the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning off Crain, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Sox for the third time in less than 24 hours, 4-3, on Saturday.
Swisher’s homer in the ninth inning Friday night helped Cleveland secure a sweep of a marathon doubleheader Friday night.
This time, Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Swisher hit consecutive one-out singles off Crain (2-3) in the eighth. Crain allowed his first earned run since April 12, a span of 31 outings before Saturday.
“It’s one of those he’s always going to come in, kind of the toughest situations,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That eighth inning’s just one of those, depending on where that lineup is, it’s usually a nasty situation. It’s impressive just kind of the run he’s been on.”
Things haven’t been as impressive for the Sox, who scored 18 runs in two games Friday but still lost both. Saturday was their 12th loss in 16 games. They fell to 12-18 in one-run games, lost for the 25th time after leading, and dropped their fourth in a row at home to fall to a season-high 14 games below .500.
On Saturday, starter Dylan Axelrod held Cleveland to three runs and five hits over six innings, but allowed Jason Kipnis’ tying two-run homer in the sixth.
“Maybe the difference in the game,” Axelrod said of the homer.
“We’ve lost a lot of close games,” Axelrod said. “I think, three runs or less, kind of games we’ve been in. It’s been real close to being, who knows, we could be the other way around if the little breaks were going our way.”
Kipnis, who’s from Northbrook, continued to torment the Sox. During the first three games of the series, Kipnis is 6 for 10 with six RBIs and six walks, and undid an otherwise solid day from Axelrod, who kept in check a team that scored 28 runs during Friday’s doubleheader.
It also continued Kipnis’ success at U.S. Cellular Field, where he has eight multihit games in 16 starts and is hitting .424.
“It’s fun to hit them anywhere,” Kipnis said. “It’s fun to hit them anywhere, but in Chicago with friends and family in the stands it makes it that much more sweet.”
Joe Martinez (1-0), called up from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday, earned the victory in his first major league appearance this season. He pitched two innings and held Chicago to two hits and no runs with one strikeout.
Cleveland closer Chris Perez earned his seventh save in nine attempts.
Chicago rallied with two outs in the fifth inning to take a 3-1 lead. Conor Gillaspie and Dayan Viciedo had back-to-back RBI singles to score Alex Rios and Jeff Keppinger. Catcher Tyler Flowers had a chance to add on but struck out looking with the bases loaded.
Viciedo, who had been 1 for his last 12 and was pulled from the first game of Friday’s doubleheader after a baserunning error, was 3 for 4 and made sliding catches in the first and third innings.
His first was a diving grab of a looper from Asdrubal Cabrera that was fair and in shallow left field, where Viciedo snagged it just as it was about to hit the ground. His second highlight catch prevented Michael Bourn from reaching base in the third inning, when Viciedo sprinted into the gap to make the play.
Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez pitched five innings and allowed nine hits and three walks, but only three earned runs on a day the White Sox left 11 runners on base.
“Guys on base, you have a chance to kind of put it out of reach, so to speak,” Ventura said, “but couldn’t do it.”
NOTES: White Sox 1B/DH Paul Konerko took batting practice Saturday, his first action since last playing June 23 in Kansas City. Konerko, who has pain in the lower right side of his back, doesn’t think he’s headed to the disabled list and hopes to play Sunday. Ventura said Konerko probably won’t play Sunday but there’s a good chance he would be in the lineup Tuesday against Baltimore. ... Before Saturday’s game the White Sox recalled pitcher Simon Castro, who has never pitched in the major leagues. ... Chicago right fielder Alex Rios snapped an 0-for-13 streak at the plate with his single in the fifth inning. ... Cleveland manager Terry Francona was surprised to hear Friday’s doubleheader was the longest in Major League history. “I
guess that’s the one advantage to waking up every day feeling (lousy), you really don’t feel all that different.” ... The Indians sent right-handed pitcher Matt Langwell to Columbus. ... Chicago will start Chris Sale (5-6, 2.75 ERA) and Cleveland starts Justin Masterson (9-6, 3.76) in today’s series closer at 1:10 p.m.