CLEVELAND — The Chicago White Sox finally found a way to win at Progressive Field.
Matt Davidson hit a run-scoring single with two out in the 11th inning to lift the White Sox to a 5-4 win over the Indians on Thursday night for Chicago’s first victory at Cleveland this season.
The White Sox were outscored 58-19 in dropping their first eight games, including a 4-1 loss on Wednesday when Jason Kipnis hit a grand slam in the ninth.
“I’m happy to say that these guys do show you fight and they don’t quit,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “I know that things don’t always turn out the way we want them to turn out as a club, but they’ve kept battling.”
Cleveland has split four games since wrapping up its third straight AL Central title. The Indians open a three-game series tonight at home against Boston, which clinched the AL East on Thursday. The teams split four games at Fenway Park last month.
“It was actually a fun game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “You certainly want to win. But with 10 games left it’s nice to play a game like that. They pushed us pretty good. Playing in games where, if somebody makes a mistake you lose, that’s good for us.”
Yolmer Sanchez doubled off Adam Cimber (0-3) to start the 11th and moved to third on a groundout. After Avisail Garcia was intentionally walked, Ryan Cordell struck out before Davidson singled to right.
Hector Santiago (6-3) pitched three scoreless innings. Eric Haase was hit by a pitch to start the 11th, but Santiago retired Fransico Lindor on a fly ball, struck out Michael Brantley and got Jose Ramirez on a groundout to end the game.
Kipnis batted with runners on first and second and two outs in the 10th. He sent a grounder to the right side, but the ball struck Brandon Barnes, who was on first base, ending the inning. Kipnis was credited with a single.
Cleveland tied the game with two runs in the eighth on a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk. Lindor and Brantley, who hit back-to-back homers in the third, started the rally.
Lindor tripled off Aaron Bummer and scored on a head-first slide when a pitch in the dirt skipped away from catcher Omar Narvaez.
A single by Brantley and two walks loaded the bases with one out. Juan Minaya, the fourth reliever of the inning, struck out Yandy Diaz, but walked Melky Cabrera, tying the game. Kipnis popped out.
Chicago starter James Shields allowed two runs in six innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and got out of the third and sixth with double plays.
Narvaez hit a solo homer in the third while Moncada had a two-run double in the second. Garcia’s RBI single gave Chicago a first-inning lead.
Josh Tomlin allowed four runs and eight hits in four innings. The right-hander began the season in Cleveland’s rotation, but was moved to the bullpen in May.
Tomlin has started twice in the last week. Francona has juggled his rotation to get Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco in line to pitch the first two games of the Division Series that begins Oct. 5.
Taking a break
Indians third baseman Josh Donaldson didn’t start after being in the lineup on back-to-back days for the first time with Cleveland. He walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth and is batting .167 (3-for-18) with a home run in six games since being acquired from Toronto on Aug. 31.
Donaldson missed three months with a calf injury, but Francona thinks his offense will pick up. He also made two outstanding defensive plays Wednesday night.
“We’ve seen him do it for years across the field,” Francona said. “You look at the tools and you see all that, but he’s a baseball player, too. He can play third. The game doesn’t speed up. It’s just, the more reps he gets, the better he’ll be.”
Windy City showdown
The White Sox and Cubs open a three-game series this afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Cubs outscored the White Sox 22-11 in taking two of three at Wrigley Field in May. The White Sox have lost seven of nine in the series.
“I won’t go to sleep tonight,” Renteria said. “I’ll stay awake. I can sleep tomorrow night.”
WHITE SOX: First baseman Jose Abreu (infection in right thigh) was in uniform after being released from the hospital Wednesday. Renteria said it’s a longshot that Abreu will play this weekend against the Cubs.
WHITE SOX: Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (6-9. 4.05 ERA) will pitch the opener against the Cubs. He’s 2-0 with six no-decisions in his last 10 starts.
INDIANS: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (12-6, 2,22 ERA) will make his first start since Aug. 11 when he was struck with a line drive and broke his right leg. He’s expected to pitch two innings against Boston.