Jimenez, Indians stifle White Sox, continue to gain in playoff race
CHICAGO -- Ubaldo Jimenez took a shutout into the ninth inning and was supported by eight runs as the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 8-1 Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Cleveland is now two games behind in the loss column of Texas and Tampa Bay in the American League Wild Card race. The Rangers have lost five in a row, allowing the Indians to gain ground.
Jimenez (12-9, 3.49) went eight and one-third strong innings, continuing a string of 10 starts in which he has allowed three earned runs or fewer. He worked around eight hits and struck out eight to win his third game in a row, falling just two outs shy of his ninth career complete game and fourth career shutout. His last complete game shutout came on June 1, 2011 with Colorado.
After giving up back-to-back singles in the ninth, Jimenez was relieved by Chen-Chang Lee with one out and two on. The White Sox scored their only run in the final inning on a sac fly. The run was charged to Jimenez, the first earned run charged to Jimenez in his last three outings. He is 4-2 in his last six starts, allowing eight runs while striking out 50.
The Indians jumped on Chicago starter Andre Rienzo (2-2, 5.04) in the fourth, plating five runs in the inning. WithCarlos Santana on first and one out, Asdrubal Cabrera homered to right-center. After a walk and a single, Lonnie Chisenhall hit a three-run homer, his 10th of the season. The blasts put the Indians up 5-0, which was plenty of support for Jimenez.
Rienzo struggled through four innings, surrendering five earned runs on seven hits and four walks. He has now given up five runs in two of his last three outings.
Charlie Leesman pitched the fifth and sixth for Chicago, giving up two more runs in the sixth on a two-RBI single by Santana.
The Indians added their eighth run in the ninth off Addison Reed. Jose Ramirez, hitting for Cabrera, fouled off several pitches before tripling over the head of center field Alejandro De Aza. Ramirez scored when Ryan Raburn hit a sacrifice fly to left.
Santana finished 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and has now hit in nine straight. Chisenhall also posted two hits for the Tribe.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.
1. Jimenez continues to be the ace that the Indians envisioned when they acquired him. If the Indians reach the postseason, he will be a key reason (if not THE main reason) why they do.
2. Chisenhall is starting to show some promise- I would not give up on him yet. Give him 2014, at least to start, then reevaluate. (Meanwhile Kipnis is still largely MIA).
3. Ramirez (who I think should replace Kipnis at 2B no later than 2015 at this rate, with Kipnis moving to RF, or possibly even as trade bait if he continues disappearing for long stretches and it was an impactful enough deal)- impressive so far. Who said he was only a singles hitter? He hit a fair number of XBH during the season as well, at just 20-YO and skipping High-A. It wouldn't be surprising for him to develop more gap power and maybe even some HR power down the road- 5-10, maybe 10-15 HR power. Combine that with above-average to Gild-glove defense at 2B, and he's definitely a player to watch and keep (unless you get a boatload for him. Personally, I'd make plans to move Kipnis to the OF down the road if Ramirez continues developing as he is- may it happen). Go Tribe!