MATT CARLSON, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Josh Tomlin pitched five effective innings in his return to the Indians rotation, Coco Crisp hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to break the game open and Cleveland defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-1 on Wednesday night to remain six games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central.
Tomlin (12-8) allowed one run on four hits and walked none as he ended a personal five-game losing streak that led to the right-hander being demoted to the bullpen after his last start on Aug. 30.
Jose Ramirez had two hits, including a triple that drove in two runs in a three-run third inning, and scored two runs. Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis had two hits each.
Crisp, who also doubled, went deep to left with none out in the sixth to chase Carlos Rodon (7-9) who allowed six runs to match his season high and lost for the first time since July 31. The lefty was 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his previous seven starts.
Adam Eaton drove in the lone White Sox run with a triple in the third.
Tomlin won for the first time since July 30, when he was 11-3 with a 3.43 ERA. In six starts in August, the righty had a 11.48 ERA.
Four Indians relievers combined to limit the White Sox to two hits and walked none over four scoreless innings.
The Indians leveraged the strong pitching in this one to bounce back from a pair of lopsided losses in the first two games in the series when the White Sox outscored them 19-5.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the third when Eaton’s triple to the right-center gap scored Tyler Saladino from first.
Cleveland took a 3-1 lead in the fourth as Rodon scuffled, suffered a control lapse and threw 27 pitches in the inning.
With one out, the lefty issued consecutive walks to Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana, then both scored when Ramirez lined a triple to the right-center wall. Ramirez came home on Guyer’s single through a drawn-in infield.
The Indians had lost three of four as they entered Wednesday’s game with a six game lead over Detroit in the AL Central. But Manager Terry Francona said neither he or or his team are feeling pressure as they try to wrap up the division.
“Once my stuff (pregame preparation) is in a bundle and I’m ready to go, I have fun the rest of the day,” Francona said. “When you lose, it kind of hurts more, but that’s because (the games) are so important. But I’d rather have that than be 20 out and say we lost the game.”
Indians: Guyer (sore knee) started in right field after being struck by a pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s 8-1 loss, then leaving in the seventh. … C Yan Gomes (shoulder) was the DH at Double-A Akron on Wednesday and is expected to come off the disabled list Friday, possibly in time to catch ace Corey Kluber when the Indians open a pivotal series against Detroit.
White Sox: DH Justin Morneau (stiff neck) was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Jose Abreu was at DH with Todd Frazier switching from third to first base. . RHP Zach Putnam visited the team’s clubhouse and said he’s recovering “really nicely” from surgery on Aug. 5 to remove bone fragments from his right elbow. Following physical therapy, Putnam expects to resume throwing in December.
RHP Mike Clevinger (2-2, 5.01) faces struggling RHP James Shields (3-10, 7.30) in the finale of the four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Shields is 0-5 with a 10.75 ERA in his last eight starts. Clevinger has reached the fifth inning only once in four starts since his recall on Aug. 4 from Triple-A Columbus, but Francona said Clevinger has been “stretched out” and expects the righty can go deeper in games.
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