CHICAGO -- Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor continued to build his case for the American League Rookie of the Year Award on Wednesday night, flirting with a cycle and sparking the Indians to a 6-4 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Lindor belted his eighth home run of the season in the fifth following a triple in the first and a single in the seventh, and scored two runs to help ignite Cleveland's lineup against Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Lindor debuted six days after Astros rookie shortstop Carlos Correa, and both are leading candidates for year-end honors.
"I'm glad people are talking about him," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Lindor. "It gives us a chance to brag about him a little bit. He's playing very good baseball. He wasn't here at the beginning of the season, but from the All-Star break on, he's been as good as anybody."
Samardzija (9-12) took the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, ending with five strikeouts and two walks. The White Sox belted a trio of solo home runs (Trayce Thompson, Tyler Saladino and Jose Abreu), and Thompson added an RBI single in the ninth, but it was not enough.
"If you're going to miss location, it's hard to keep it in the yard," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "That's been tough for him in the last couple [of games], being able to keep that in the yard and limit things."
Josh Tomlin (5-1) earned the win after giving up three runs in 5 2/3 innings for the Tribe, which finished its road trip with a 5-4 record. Jose Ramirez launched his second homer in as many nights, and Jason Kipnis chipped in an RBI double.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cycle watch: Lindor sparked the Indians right away, sending a pitch from Samardzija to deep center for a triple in the first inning. He promptly scored on a groundout by Michael Brantley, and fell a double shy of Cleveland's first cycle since 2003 (Travis Hafner). Lindor flied out to the warning track in right field in the ninth in his final at-bat.
"I was just playing the game, having fun," Lindor said. "Ramirez mentioned something. He was like, 'Oh, come on. You've got a double in you. Let's go. You've got this.' When I was on deck, I wasn't thinking about that. I was just trying to keep the same approach." More >
Misplay proves costly: The Indians scored twice in the eighth to take a three-run lead when Chris Johnson singled to right and Thompson misplayed the ball, letting it roll to the wall, which allowed Lonnie Chisenhall and Abraham Almonte to score.
First-inning woes: As he has much of the season, Samardzija struggled to escape the first inning unscathed. He allowed the triple to Lindor, leading to the Tribe's first run, and now has a 7.45 ERA in the first inning of 28 games this season, allowing opponents to hit .347 in the opening frame. He ranks first among qualified Major League starters in runs and hits allowed in the first inning. As a team the White Sox have been outscored, 94-65, in the first inning this season.
"I thought I made some big pitches and had some nice easy innings," Samardzija said, "and just got a little snake bit there with a couple of those homers that put us down one too many runs. Otherwise it would have been a different game there."
No way, Jose: Francona said that Ramirez "shocked everybody" with his mammoth homer on Tuesday night, a blast to left that measured 447 feet, according to Statcast™. On Wednesday the diminutive Ramirez led off the fifth inning with a shot that barely cleared the wall in center field. He now has four homers on the season.
Homer happy: All three of the White Sox runs on Wednesday came on solo shots, highlighted by Saladino's and Abreu's back-to-back blasts in the sixth inning. Thompson also added one -- his third of the season -- in the second. In his six starts this season, Tomlin has yielded 10 homers (nine solo shots). Eleven of the 13 runs he has allowed have come via the long ball.
"That's an issue that I'm trying to correct," Tomlin said. "But I'm never going to shy away from contact from guys. That's not what I would do. ... I'm going to go out there and try to challenge guys and see what happens."
"Yeah, I just had my mind focused too much on the runner. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to catch the ball first. It happens. It's going to happen again, I'm sure, in my career. It's just terrible timing." -- Thompson, on his error
"The dude's a stud. He really is. He's a stud. He plays the game hard. He plays the game the right way. He comes to the park prepared and ready to play every single day. He's showing more maturity than his age at this level. It seems like he gets better as the months and days go on. He's a fun player to watch." -- Tomlin, on Lindor
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Indians' two home runs in the fifth inning were the 25th and 26th long balls Samardzija has given up this season. That sets a single-season high for the seven-year veteran with a month remaining in the season.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar is scheduled to take the ball in the opener of a four-game set with the rival Tigers at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday at Progressive Field. Salazar took on Detroit on Saturday and was chased after giving up six runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. Cleveland has won 10 of its past 12 home games.
White Sox: After a day off on Thursday, the White Sox host the Twins in a three-game series beginning on Friday. Erik Johnson takes the mound for his second start of the season after allowing three solo shots in six innings his last time out. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.