CLEVELAND -- The White Sox delayed a celebration for the Indians for at least one more day. On Saturday night, lefty Jose Quintana spun a gem, Todd Frazier launched a home run and Chicago dealt Cleveland an 8-1 defeat at Progressive Field.
The Indians, whose magic number to clinch the American League Central sits at two, knew Saturday would present a challenge as the Tribe employed a bullpen-day approach for its vacant fifth starter spot. The White Sox took full advantage, scoring six runs over the final five innings, and ended a six-game losing streak. They improved to 7-11 against the Indians. The White Sox snapped a streak of five straight games without a quality start, having gone 0-5 with an 11.63 ERA in that span.
The second-place Tigers lost their afternoon tilt with the Royals, but Baltimore's win over the D-backs on Saturday night, combined with Cleveland's loss, postponed the Indians' opportunity to clinch a postseason berth. The Indians also slipped a half-game behind the Red Sox for the right to have home-field advantage in the AL Division Series round.
"It's nice knowing that we're kind of winding this thing down," Indians catcher Chris Gimenez said. "We know we still have a few wins to get, but I think the excitement and the anticipation is all there. … There's no extra pressure. We just know we have to continue to win. Honestly, too, if and when we do clinch, we still have the best record in the league on our minds.
"That's something that's definitely within reach. We just have to continue to go out and play and win and let the chips fall where they may."
Quintana picked up his 13th win of the year after holding the Indians to one run on six hits in six innings, in which the lefty struck out two and walked three. Cleveland ended the game 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, with the lone breakthrough coming via an RBI single by Rajai Davis in the second.
Righty Cody Anderson started for the Indians, but worked just two innings in what turned into the seventh game this season in which Cleveland utilized at least eight arms. Chicago struck for two runs in the first and continued to tack on throughout the night. Frazier hit his 39th home run in the sixth, and the White Sox struck for four runs in an error-filled eighth.
"It was [challenging] tonight," Indians manager Terry Francona said of using all relievers. "it takes a little bit of, I don't want to say the wind out of the sails, but it's a lot of moving parts. And then, we fall behind. I think it makes for a long night for the position players. I get it." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Quick strike: The White Sox jumped to a 2-0 lead just two batters into the game, putting Cleveland behind at the outset of a bullpen day. Facing Anderson, who was only penciled in for a couple innings, Tim Anderson led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Melky Cabrera. Jose Abreu then connected for an RBI single to push Chicago in front by two. The Tribe dropped to 29-45 this year when the opposition scores first.
Milestones approaching: Abreu singled in his first three at-bats and finished the night with a .299 average. His first-inning single scored Anderson for Abreu's 97th RBI. Frazier went deep leading off the sixth, giving him 96 RBIs, and putting Frazier one homer short of becoming the seventh player in White Sox history to hit 40 long balls in one season.
"They are going out and doing it in a professional way," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's not greedy. It's just going out and playing hard and at the end of the year, you hope your numbers are where they are at."
Rare air: Frazier's blast to left field was nothing new for the White Sox third baseman, but it was for Indians rookie reliever Shawn Armstrong. It marked just the second home run allowed by Armstrong over the past two years, covering 117 1/3 innings between the Minors and Majors. The blast had an exit velocity of 110 mph and traveled a projected 428 feet, according to Statcast™.
He laughs at trouble: Cleveland loaded the bases in each of the first two innings against Quintana, who wasn't as sharp as he has been for most of this season, but the Indians only scored one run. Carlos Santana hit into a double play on a 2-1 pitch to end the first, and Coco Crisp's baserunning blunder potentially cost the Indians a bigger outburst when they scored in the second. Quintana pitched six innings, putting him over 200 innings and 30 starts (32 starts) for a fourth straight season.
"It was rough. I think locating-wise, it was probably the biggest thing. He struggled with it early," said Ventura of Quintana's first two innings. "You really don't see him like that too often. He just gritted through it. He has a lot of heart in him to be able to keep battling through. Got out of that first inning with a big double play.
"Just not as smooth really the whole time through there. He grinded it out, got us to a point where we could score some runs and separate." More >
"Hopefully we can score runs like this more often for him. Everybody knows his record would be a lot better if we could score some runs for him." --Ventura, on Quintana
"It's special because that means you helped for four years." -- Quintana, on reaching 200 innings pitched for a fourth straight year
"When you look at the score at the end, it's a blowout game, but we had some really good chances early and didn't do much with it. And with a good pitcher like Quintana, he found himself. We had his pitch count up a lot early, but we managed one." --Francona
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The Indians used 24 players, setting a franchise record for a nine-inning game. Cleveland used eight pitchers and 16 position players. The Tribe had used 23 players in a game twice previously (May 3, 1952, at Washington and April 26, 1921, vs. Detroit).
Indians outfielder Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning, marking the 31st time (MLB high) he's been hit by a pitch this season. That is the tied for the fourth-highest single-season total, dating back to 1901. The AL record is 35 by Don Baylor in 1986 and the MLB record is 50 by Ron Hunt in 1971.
Abreu's 179 hits put him in a select group with Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols as the only players in Major League Baseball history with at least 175 hits and 25 home runs in each of their first three seasons.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox:Carlos Rodon (7-10, 4.29) makes his 27th start of the season in the road finale Sunday afternoon. Rodon is 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 47 innings over eight career outings (seven starts) against the Indians. Six of Rodon's starts have been quality, and he has allowed two runs or less six times (one or zero runs four times).
Indians: Right-hander Josh Tomlin (12-8, 4.61 ERA) is scheduled to start in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. ET season series finale against the White Sox at Progressive Field. Tomlin has gone 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his two starts (11 2/3 innings) since returning to the rotation.