CLEVELAND (AP) — Dylan Cease feels like he’s finally finding his groove. The Chicago White Sox just might be, as well.
Romy González’s two-run double broke a seventh-inning tie to help Cease get his first win since April 10 as the White Sox, who opened the season so miserably, rallied for a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.
González snapped a 2-2 tie with his first double this season, a hard shot off rookie Logan Allen (1-2), who was probably left in the game one batter too many by manager Terry Francona.
“Definitely a big moment,” said González, who hit a two-run triple in Sunday’s win over Kansas City. “He was doing a great job up until that point, pounding us all in. I just put a good swing on a good pitch. Definitely a huge moment.”
Yasmani Grandal homered for the White Sox, who started 7-21 but have won six of eight to stay within striking distance in the wide open and winnable AL Central.
Chicago’s win was tainted with some concern as center fielder Luis Robert Jr. left in the eighth inning with soreness in his right hip/quadriceps area and is day to day. He leads the White Sox with 13 homers.
The 25-year-old Robert missed three months in 2021 with a strained right hip flexor.
“He has some soreness in his quad. But he’s good,” said manager Pedro Grifol, who will likely sit Robert for Wednesday’s series finale.
Cease (3-3) had gone eight starts since his last win at Minnesota last month. The right-hander allowed five hits in six innings, Keynan Middleton and Joe Kelly pitched an inning apiece and Kendall Graveman worked the ninth for his fourth save.
“Definitely the best I’ve felt in quite a while and I feel like I’m getting really close to synching everything up,” said Cease.
Rookie Will Brennan hit a solo homer for the Guardians, who have scored four runs or fewer in seven of eight games.
“There’s not a lot of wiggle room,” Francona said.
Josh Naylor’s RBI double in the sixth gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead, but the White Sox countered with three runs in the seventh.
Allen gave up a leadoff single to Andrew Vaughn and Andrew Benintendi doubled. Grandal followed with a chopper that star third baseman José Ramírez misplayed for an error that allowed Vaughn to score.
Clint Frazier battled Allen for a walk to load the bases, and although Francona had reliever Enyel De Los Santos warming up in the bullpen and ready, he stuck with his left-hander and González made him pay with his double to left.
“I wanted Logan to get through the bottom of the order,” said Francona, explaining he liked Allen matching up against González rather than likely pinch-hitter Gavin Sheets. “It didn’t work.”
Allen, who retired his first 11 hitters in order, got two strikes on Grandal in the fifth before Chicago’s catcher connected for a 414-foot homer. Grandal is batting .353 (18 of 51) in his last 15 games.
Brennan, who accidentally killed a bird with a batted ball in Monday’s game, put the Guardians up 1-0 in the third with his second homer.
As he rounded second base and looked toward Cleveland’s dugout, Brennan locked his thumbs in front of his chest and wiggled his fingers as if imitating a bird’s wings.
“Ya know, you’ve gotta pay tribute to a fallen hero like that,” joked Brennan. “That was a little spur of the moment thing.”
SWINGS AND MISSES
Chicago’s Jake Burger struck out five times, four swinging and looking in the ninth.
The unfortunate meeting of baseball and bird remained a topic of conversation.
Brennan’s inadvertent shot in the second inning struck the winged animal as it walked in the infield grass.
At first, Francona thought Brennan’s ball had connected with the PitchCom system.
“I’m like, how did he knock it off the catcher,” Francona said. “Like I couldn’t figure out how it got out there. That’s all I could thought it could be. And then I realized we had a death in the family. I’m assuming we had a death in the family.”
White Sox: OF Eloy Jiménez (appendectomy) will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Birmingham this week. Manager Pedro Grifol said Jiménez will play the outfield and DH before being recalled. He’s been out since May 6. … 2B Elvis Andrus (strained oblique) ran in the outfield and Grifol aid he’ll likely begin a rehab assignment next week. Andrus got hurt while making a swing against Houston on May 12.
Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale (strained oblique) allowed two hits and struck out five in 3 1/3 innings in his second rehab start for Triple-A Columbus.
Chicago RHP Michael Kopech (2-4, 4.83) starts the series finale against Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.06).