CHICAGO: All seemed lost when the Indians went out to take their last at-bats in the ninth with the Chicago White Sox leading 8-5 in Game 2 of a doubleheader Friday night. But Addison Reed couldn’t hold it, and with two outs, the score was tied.
Then it was untied, as Nick Swisher slammed a line drive over the wall in right of his eighth home run of the year, giving the Indians a 9-8 win and a sweep in the makeup doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field.
“Swish is feeling good about himself,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “That was a really good swing he took. It would really be nice if he got hot.”
Swisher was struggling at the plate until recently, partly because of a shoulder injury that kept him out of five games.
“Swish is going to catch fire,” Jason Giambi said.
Carlos Carrasco squirmed out of a potential deep jam in the first inning, when he loaded the bases with one out but gave up just one run on a sacrifice fly. Carrasco stayed out of trouble for the next three innings but allowed a run in the fifth on Jeff Keppinger’s RBI single.
Still, it was a good night’s work in progress — until the sixth, when the Sox scored four times. Rich Hill gave the White Sox a boost, even though all the runs were charged to Carrasco, who gave up a two-run double to Alejandro De Aza before leaving with two outs and runners on second and third.
“I really thought Carrasco battled his tail off,” Francona said. “They made him work, and he didn’t always locate.”
Hill entered the game and yielded a two-run single to Adam Dunn. The lefty did not get the final out of the inning until he had issued two walks (one intentional) and a single that loaded the bases before Gordon Beckham flied out.
The Indians jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, largely because of Jose Quintana’s wildness and three consecutive hits to start the gams by Michael Bourn, Mike Aviles and Jason Kipnis. Their fifth run came on Mark Reynolds’s home run leading off the sixth.
“This is probably one of the most rewarding days I’ve ever been a part of,” Francona said.
And one of the longest.
The seven hours, 53 minutes of baseball for a nine-inning doubleheader ranks as the longest in major-league history.
The first game began the slow pace.
Ryan Raburn came through in the clutch, and not for the first time.
But this was different. The Indians needed a couple of more runs to push their total to 16 (that is not a typo), ensuring that the White Sox would need a super human effort to rally.
The Tribe didn’t need all 16 runs to win, but when the Sox closed the gap to 14-10 with three at-bats left, it was easy to imagine the home team gaining the momentum to turn the game around.
But after Mark Reynolds walked to lead off the seventh, Raburn hit a towering fly ball that cleared the fence in left for his ninth home run of the season to all but guarantee the Indians’ 19-10 win in the first game.
In the end, Raburn’s homer lost some of its import, because the Indians scored three runs in the eighth.
There was another reason the Tribe might have had doubts about keeping a four-run advantage: The Sox came out in the first inning against Trevor Bauer and scored five runs, a lead that held up for only two innings.
“We knew we had a lot of time to come back,” Lonnie Chisenhall said. “And our guys stay positive.”
Because of the brevity of Bauer’s outing, Francona was forced to use his bullpen in a special way.
“These guys were going to pitch in a specific order, and they were going to have to stay in a specific length of time,” Francona said. “So it was a lot better to be up six than down six.”
It’s difficult to believe that White Sox starter Hector Santiago began the game by walking two batters but striking out the side. After that, he was hard-pressed to get anyone out.
The Tribe batted around twice during the game, the first time in the second against Santiago, who gave up five runs on six hits and actually was allowed to come out for the third, inasmuch as manager Robin Ventura didn’t want to use his entire bullpen with another game looming.
It looked like the third would be another long inning for Santiago, but when he loaded the bases with one out, he was replaced by Brian Omogrosso, who induced Drew Stubbs to bounce into a double play.
But Omogrosso would get his, and Stubbs would play a part in that. The Indians sent 10 men to the plate in the fourth inning, scoring six more times on five more hits, including an RBI triple by Stubbs.
For the game, the Tribe pounded on Sox pitchers for 21 hits, including 10 for extra bases. Raburn had the only home run and Stubbs the lone triple, but Jason Kipnis delivered three doubles, Lonnie Chisenhall had two, and Mike Aviles, Swisher and Yan Gomes each contributed one.
The RBI leaders: Raburn four, Stubbs three, Chisenhall, Kipnis, Swisher, Gomes and Mike Aviles two each.
After struggling since his return to the big leagues June 18, Chisenhall spent the past two games making up for his slump, going 5-for10 with a home run and three doubles.
“I’m feeling better and better in the box to be able to help the club,” he said. “I knew it was just a matter of time before my swing would come around. It’s kind of a snowball effect. The ball gets bigger and bigger, and then eventually you cool off.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.