Guardians’ comeback victory drops White Sox five games out of first place

The Cleveland Guardians made quick work of the White Sox’ designs on a sweep Tuesday, coming from behind for a 10-7 victory in 11 innings in the first of a three-game series, dropping the Sox five games out of first place with 14 left to play and clinching the season series and tiebreaker for Cleveland.

The relentless Guardians won for the 12th time in 16 extra-inning games, scoring five runs in the 11th inning. The Sox scored two in the bottom of the 11th on AJ Pollock’s two-run homer, his 1,000th career hit, a meaningless consolation in a loss that all but ended the Sox’ chances for a third consecutive postseason.

“I mean, we know where we’re at,” Pollock said. “We know the situation. The goal was to win the first game.”

Myles Straw had a tiebreaking two-run double in the 11th against Jake Diekman, Steven Kwan (four hits) followed with an RBI single. Kwan scored on Jose Ramirez’s sacrifice fly, and a throwing error by catcher Seby Zavala allowed Amed Rosario to score the fifth run.

While the Sox have played better over in their stretch of 13 wins in 20 games since Cairo took over as acting manager, the error charged to Zavala was characteristic of the Sox’ defensive woes all season. Diekman didn’t hold Rosario, who got an easy break from second, and third baseman Yoan Moncada wasn’t covering third. Zavala’s throw was fine but skipped past Moncada.

Pollock turned a slicing fly ball by Andres Gimenez into a triple in left field when he stumbled and fell and the Guardians got the first run on Austin Hedges’ sacrifice fly against Dylan Cease (six innings, one run).

“We had a bunch of stuff,” Pollock said. “I had a funky play in the beginning. Trying to make an aggressive play and got caught in a weird spot and it was probably a double and it ended up being a triple and the run that ended up scoring was a big run. A couple missed opportunities throughout the game. A couple defensive miscues. It was execution on our end for sure.”

Emmanuel Clase (3-4) allowed a game-tying two-out single to Jose Abreu in the 10th, blowing just his fourth save in 40 chances, but he earned the win.

Josh Naylor’s RBI single and Oscar Gonzalez’ sacrifice fly pushed two runs across against Kendall Graveman in the 10th after the Guardians scored two in the seventh to erase a 3-1 deficit.

The Sox then scored three in the sixth against Aaron Civale and Nick Sandlin. Eloy Jimenez singled in the first run and two runs scored when Pollock beat out a double play and shortstop Rosario’s throw skipped past first baseman Owen Miller.

But reliever Jimmy Lambert walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh, and both turned into runs, the first scoring on Kwan’s single and the second when Jose Ramirez beat out a ball hit to Andrus in the hole at shortstop for a single.

The Sox caught a break when Rosario made the third out trying to score from second after Andrus made a diving stop in the hole. Rosario appeared to beat catcher Seby Zavala’s sweeping tag but umpire Shane Livensparger called him safe and the Guardians had used their challenge.

Cease (2.13 ERA) was behind in the count to all but one batter in the first two innings and needed 107 pitches to complete six.

“I feel like we were ready,” he said. “If I’m efficient maybe I go 7 or 8 and save some arms. I would say that’s as big of a reason as why we lost as anything.”

Cairo blamed himself for making “bad moves” but he sounded more like a manager defending his players unnecessarily.

“I made a few moves I should not have made,” Cairo said. “Today was on me. Our players fight, they fight hard.”

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