White Sox’ Dylan Cease pitches like All-Star vs. Guardians

CLEVELAND — Dylan Cease is as low key as they come, but he doesn’t need to find reasons to get amped up.

Two things got him going Tuesday, however — an All-Star snub this week and the White Sox’ near desperate need for a win after dropping the first two games of their road trip, including a lackluster loss in Game 1 of a split doubleheader against the Guardians.

Backed by a two-run homer from Jose Abreu against former Sox prospect Konnor Pilkington in the first and a solo shot from Josh Harrison in the second, Cease pitched 5 2/3 innings of scoreless, five-hit ball. Cease struck out nine, walked three and lowered his ERA to 2.30, exiting with a 4-0 lead.

“Baseball’s more fun when you have good results and this is definitely the most competent I’ve ever been as a pitcher, the best numbers I’ve put up, all of that,” Cease said Monday. “It’s a little disappointing that as a team we aren’t where we want to be. That would be the most fun, good numbers and team’s doing well. But I’m pretty proud of myself and happy with a lot of the adjustments that have been made.”

Cease threw 106 pitches — 57 sliders, 35 fastballs, 13 curveballs and one changeup. His last pitch was a fastball for ball four to former Sox prospect Alex Call, loading the bases with two outs in the sixth. Reynaldo Lopez struck out Luke Maile to keep Cleveland off the scoreboard.

Cease is slated to make his next start Sunday, when the Sox complete a four-game series at Minnesota heading into the All-Star break. In nine starts since May 29, Cease has allowed three earned runs with 71 strikeouts over 51 innings.

Grandal shifts to Charlotte

Catcher Yasmani Grandal’s rehab assignment transitioned from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte. Grandal, who went on IL because of back spasms, was 3-for-7 with six walks in 13 plate appearances at Birmingham. Grandal is expetced to DH twice and catch three times in his next five games.

Grandal’s earliest return is expected to be July 22 after the All-Star break.

This and that

Outfield prospect Oscar Colas was promoted to Double-A Birmingham. Colas, who batted .312/.369/.475 with an .845 OPS at High-A Winston-Salem, will represent the Sox in the Futures Game.

*Shortstop Colson Montgomery is the No. 53 prospect in Baseball America’s latest list of top 100 players, marking the first time this year the Sox have a top 100 player. Montgomery homered in his first at-bat Tuesday, extending his on-base streak to 46 games between Low-A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem (16 games).

*The Sox traded Pilkington to Cleveland for second baseman Cesar Hernandez at the trade deadline last season.

*In Game 1, Shane Bieber became the first Cleveland pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game with fewer than 100 pitches since Corey Kluber on Aug. 4, 2018.

*Danny Mendick underwent surgery to repair his torn UCL.

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