CLEVELAND -- Dayan Viciedo broke the White Sox out of their slumber on Sunday afternoon.
The outfielder’s three-run, ninth-inning home run off Cleveland closer John Axford helped the White Sox avoid a series sweep as they downed the Indians 4-3 at Progressive Field.
Prior to Viciedo’s drive, the White Sox had been tied down by Cleveland starting pitcher Corey Kluber, who struck out a career-high 13 over eight outstanding innings. Matt Lindstrom secured the win, which snapped a four-game losing streak, with his fourth save.
“He made a mistake and I made him pay for it,” Viciedo said through the team’s manager of cultural development, Lino Diaz. “I was glad I was able to do that. … I knew as soon as I made the contact. I’m very happy we won the game. We had a couple of days where it was a little tough pitching. But it was good to see our team come through with a victory.”
The White Sox chances for such an outcome were slim headed to the ninth. Per fangraphs.com, Cleveland’s win probability stood at 93.1 percent when Axford took the mound.
Trailing 3-1, Gordon Beckham drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning and with one out Adam Dunn walked. Viciedo, who had two hits in his previous 17 at-bats, then hammered a 2-2 pitch from Axford over the fence in right field to give the White Sox only their second lead of the series.
Lindstrom pitched a scoreless ninth to convert the stunning reversal.
“Badly needed,” Lindstrom said. “Badly. We’ve shown all season long that we’re never really out of a game unless they’re up by eight or nine.”
Kluber made his two-run lead feel that way.
George Kottaras homered twice off White Sox starter Andre Rienzo in the losing effort. The solo homers in the first two at-bats of Kottaras’ tenure with the Indians marked the first time that has happened in franchise history.
Lonnie Chisenhall’s RBI single in the third opened a 3-1 lead for Cleveland.
Kluber, who allowed a solo homer to Jose Abreu in the first inning, his 12 th, established a franchise-record with seven straight strikeouts between the third and fifth innings. At one point, nine of 10 outs recorded by Kluber were strikeouts.
Viciedo said Kluber threw a lot of good pitches and also got the White Sox to chase bad ones.
Kluber limited the White Sox to a run and three hits over eight innings. He walked two.
But Rienzo and the White Sox bullpen kept them in it.
Rienzo allowed three earned runs even though 11 men reached against him over 4 2/3 innings.
Lindstrom and relievers Zach Putnam, Ronald Belisario and Daniel Webb combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings to stay within two. Over their past 26 innings pitched, White Sox relievers have allowed two earned runs.
“It wasn’t looking good,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Kluber threw a great game. … He was just cruising and we were pretty flat.
“You get to the last inning. Bullpen did a great job of keeping us in there. We worked a couple of walks and Tank hits a homer.”