The Cleveland Indians try to follow up an epic double- header from Friday with another strong performance on Saturday afternoon when they once again contend against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Indians didn't just casually win a couple of games on Friday, the team did so in dramatic fashion as they crushed Chicago in the first game, 19-10, and then tallied four runs in the top of the ninth in the nightcap in order to steal a 9-8 triumph as well.
On a day (night) where the teams played close to eight hours of baseball, Nick Swisher was the hero late for Cleveland as his solo home run with two out in the ninth gave the visitors the lead for good. Swisher scored twice in the second contest, while Mark Reynolds offset three strikeouts by blasting his 15th home run of the campaign.
"3-2 against a closer, bro, I'm just trying to get on base," Swisher said after his game-winner. "But when you have a closer throwing that hard, all you've got to do is put a barrel on it. He'll provide a lot of that power."
Michael Bourn registered three hits and Mike Aviles two more at the top of the Cleveland lineup.
Carlos Carrasco made the start in Game 2 for the Tribe, lasting 5 2/3 innings as he allowed six runs on 10 hits and a pair of walks, but it was Matt Langwell who was rewarded with the win and Vinnie Pestano with his sixth save.
Taking the loss for Chicago was Addison Reed, his first of the season as he blew his fourth save opportunity. Starter Jose Quintana permitted five runs -- four earned -- on five hits and three walks over six innings.
Alejandro De Aza and Jeff Keppinger each had three hits for the Sox, the former scoring four times and knocking in a pair while the latter was credited with two RBI as well.
Even though Swisher stole the show in the early morning hours, the fireworks began long before when the two teams combined for 34 hits and 29 runs during an offensive onslaught that saw the squads combine to use 12 pitchers.
While few of the hurlers had a game that they would like to remember, Chicago's Brian Omogrosso could be scarred for quite some time after being charged with nine runs on nine hits and two walks in a mere 2 1/3 innings of work.
All but one Cleveland batter (Reynolds) had at least two hits in the first game of the day and all but one (Asdrubal Cabrera) knocked in at least one run as the Indians became the first team since the Rockies in 2010 to have at least seven players record a multi-RBI game.
Jason Kipnis stroked three doubles, walked three times and scored four runs for the Indians as they scored 19 runs for the second time this season. Kipnis had reached base safely in 30 straight games at that point.
In addition to logging 21 hits in the game, Cleveland batters also registered nine walks.
De Aza posted three bases-on-balls and a double in the losing cause for a Chicago squad that heads into the weekend 13 games under .500 and all alone in last place in the AL Central. Keppinger and Gordon Beckham both logged three hits for Chicago, while Tyler Flowers hit his eighth home run and knocked in three in the losing effort.
Now more than a month removed from his last major league victory, Dylan Axelrod heads to the mound for the White Sox on Saturday afternoon. The California native last registered a win back on May 26 versus Miami at home and since then has lost once and run together four straight outings without a decision.
Last weekend Axelrod was pitted against Kansas City on the road and made it through just 4 2/3 innings as he gave up 10 hits for the second straight game. The right-hander allowed four runs and struck out two, yet remained 3-4 on the campaign.
A 30th-round draft pick by San Diego in 2007, Axelrod went up against the Tribe back in late April, but again he failed to factor into the decision as he gave up just a single run on three hits and a couple of walks through six innings. For his career, Axelrod is still without a decision after three appearances versus Cleveland.
Countering for the Indians on this day will be Ubaldo Jimenez, seeking his third win in as many decisions. The right-hander, who has a career mark of only 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six appearances versus Chicago, last pitched on Monday when he lasted until the sixth inning versus Baltimore in order to grab his sixth victory of the campaign.
Against the Orioles, Jimenez scattered a season-high eight hits, but those resulted in just two runs, courtesy of a pair of solo home runs. The hurler walked two and struck out six in the meeting as well.
Chicago won the season series against the Tribe by an 11-7 margin in both 2011 and 2012, but this year Cleveland has moved out to a 5-2 advantage.