Jesse Crain hadn't allowed an earned run since April 12, a stretch spanning 31 appearances. That streak ended Saturday, and for the Murphy's Law White Sox, the run Crain allowed was the game-winning tally for Cleveland in a 4-3 loss.
With the score tied at 3 in the eighth, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher hit consecutive singles -- only Kipnis' was hit hard -- to bring in the go-ahead run off Crain, who entered the game with a 0.50 ERA. It took a spectacular leaping catch by second baseman Gordon Beckham to keep the Indians from scoring more off the right-hander.
"That was kind of a tough inning, I guess," catcher Tyler Flowers said. "It'd be one thing if they were barreling up balls, giving up a run that way. That's just how it goes sometimes."
Crain's streak of 31 appearances without allowing an earned run tied for the 14th-longest in MLB history and was the longest in White Sox history. In that span, Crain allowed 23 hits and nine walks with 40 strikeouts.
"Jesse probably wasn't gonna finish the year with a 0.10 (ERA)," Flowers added. "Something's got to happen sometimes, and they just happen to put a couple together and get that run across."
A day after allowing 28 runs in a doubleheader against Cleveland, the White Sox pitching was better on Saturday, even with Crain giving up the lead. Dylan Axelrod put together a quality start, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings of work. But the White Sox offense -- which scored 19 runs in Friday's doubleheader -- squandered plenty of chances to break the game open.
The Sox banged out 11 hits and drew four walks but only mustered three runs thanks in large part to stranding 11 runners on base. In the fifth inning, the White Sox had Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez on the ropes but let him escape when Flowers watched a slider go by for strike three, ending the frame with the bases loaded.
"It was a clean game, and we played good defense," manager Robin Ventura said. "We kind of missed those opportunities, and they come back and haunt you."
Dayan Viciedo went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI and made a pair of excellent diving catches. For the left fielder, it was a bit of redemption after he was benched Friday for failing to hustle on the basepaths.
"There’s part of that, of growing into what you’re going to be," Ventura, who shot down speculation Viciedo could be sent down to the minors before the game, said. "To be able to do that for him, again, going through hard stuff is the hardest thing a player will do, especially young to be able to get through it. Eventually, when you get through it, it makes you better for the rest of your career."
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The White Sox couldn't follow the same redemption storyline, though, and instead slipped further into last place in the AL Central.
"It's been like that all year. It's been frustrating little things -- like today, one pitch made the difference in the game," Axelrod said. "We've lost a lot of close games (by) three runs or less, a ton of games we've been in. It's been real close, and who knows, it could be the other way around if the little breaks were going our way."