CHICAGO: In a young season, no one in the Indians dugout would place any significance on Game 11.
But the 9-6 loss Friday night to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field still seemed to carry weight on several fronts.
The Indians entered with a taxed bullpen after Danny Salazar lasted just 3⅔ innings Thursday in the opener of the four-game series. Then Carlos Carrasco compounded the problem by pitching 4⅔, the fifth time a Tribe starter has failed to go five innings.
The Indians (5-6) slipped to 1-4 in games started by left-handers, with the White Sox sending ace lefty Chris Sale to the mound. There will be little relief, with Jose Quintana slated for Sunday.
Thursday’s loss to the White Sox snapped a 14-game winning streak against the American League Central Division foe, which the Tribe went 17-2 against a year ago. Now Chicago has started a string of its own.
The Indians awakened from their lefty lethargy in the fifth inning, scoring three runs off Sale to tie the game. Mike Aviles singled to center, Elliot Johnson’s double bounced over the center field wall and Asdrubal Cabrera brought them home with a double to the wall in left. Nick Swisher added another run with a single up the middle.
But the White Sox came back in the bottom of the inning when Carrasco issued one-out walks to Adam Eaton and Marcus Semien and Conor Gillaspie pushed an RBI single to right. After Carrasco struck out Jose Abreu, Marc Rzepczynski relieved and walked two more, the second plating another run.
The Indians continued to chip away, closing the gap to 5-4 in the sixth as Jake Petricka relieved Sale. Michael Brantley led off with a walk and Yan Gomes singled to right. Brantley scored as Aviles reached on an error by third baseman Gillaspie. With runners on second and third after a Johnson sacrifice, Cabrera and Swisher struck out.
Gillaspie had a career-high four RBI, including a two-run double to the left-field corner in the sixth off Bryan Shaw for a 7-4 lead.
Carrasco gave up five runs on six hits, walking three and striking out five. Carrasco remains winless against the White Sox in six career starts.
Sale allowed three runs on six hits, walking two and striking out five. It was a departure from his numbers against the Indians in 2013, when he was 0-4 with an 8.61 ERA.
Before the game, designated hitter Ryan Raburn disputed the Indians’ lack of success against left-handers.
“We’ve got how many more games left?” Raburn said. “It’s still early. You can’t look into too much now. Guys hitting .100, guys hitting .500 doesn’t mean anything.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read the her blog at http://www.ohio.com/marla. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.