Cleveland Indians starter Zach McAllister was able to wiggle through some early wildness against the Chicago White Sox with minimal damage. It was a big blow in the fifth off the bat of Alex Rios that was McAallister’s ultimate unraveling.
Rios hit a two-run homer and Jeff Keppinger had two hits and drove in a run for the White Sox in a 3-2 win over the Indians on Wednesday.
“He had to dodge some traffic, especially early,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of McAllister. “But because of the use of his fastball, he keeps guys off the scoreboard. And they almost left with one run, he got ahead of Rios and fastball came across the wrong part of the plate — even though it was elevated — and he ran into it for two runs, two big runs. He kept competing and he kept them off the board.”
McAllister gave up five hits, three earned runs and walked five while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings. The Indians’ bullpen was even better, extending its scoreless streak to 19 consecutive innings.
Rios connected in the fifth, driving the ball to left on a 0-2 pitch for his team-high sixth homer and a 3-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Indians, White Sox starter Jose Quintana was just a hair better. Quintana breezed through three perfect innings, and then worked out of a jam in the fourth after the Indians loaded the bases.
Michael Brantley reached on a leadoff single and moved to third on Mark Reynolds’ one-out double to the right-field corner. Nick Swisher walked to load the bases, but Ryan Raburn grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“[Quintana] just made pitches when he had to,” Raburn said. “We battled and battled and put guys on and we just didn’t get that one hit to put us over the top. He pitched well, we can’t take nothing from him. We just didn’t quite get the job done.”
A year ago Quintana was just trying to hang on to a spot in Chicago’s starting rotation. His position is secure now, especially after another strong outing ended the team’s a four-game losing streak.
“He’s been pitching great,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. “Maturity-wise he’s just getting strong as far as the makeup of his belief that he’s a big leaguer. Last year, he was just trying to survive and it kind of felt game-to-game for a while.”
Quintana (2-0) allowed two runs and four hits in five-plus innings to help the White Sox earn a split of the rain-shortened series.
“I’m happy about the victory, that’s the most important thing. We needed to get that win in there and it’s a start,” Quintana said through a translator. “I feel like I’m learning still but I feel like I’m a big part of this and a big part of this. I just have to keep making the necessary adjustments.”
Cleveland’s first three batters of the sixth got on base, with Jason Kipnis singling in Drew Stubbs. Nate Jones then replaced Quintana and Reynolds hit a sacrifice fly to cut Chicago’s lead to 3-2.
Kipnis stole second and third, but Jones struck out Swisher and got Raburn to fly out to end the inning.
The Indians rallied for a 3-2 victory in the series opener Monday night before Tuesday game’s was postponed by rain.