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Cleveland Indians get modest revenge on Chicago White Sox to cap twin bill

Sep 23, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac (34) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac (34) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Oscar Mercado belted a walk-off, two-run home run in the seventh inning as the host Cleveland Indians salvaged a split of a doubleheader with a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

Myles Straw singled to lead off the seventh inning before Mercado deposited a 2-0 fastball from Jose Ruiz (1-3) over the wall in left field for his sixth homer of the season.

The White Sox (86-67), however, clinched their first American League Central title since 2008 and back-to-back playoff berths for the first time in franchise history with a 7-2 win in the opener of the doubleheader. That loss officially eliminated the Indians (75-77) from postseason contention.

Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and Owen Miller ripped a two-run single with two outs in the sixth.

Andrew Vaughn capped a 10-pitch at-bat with a two-run single in the sixth inning for Chicago, which has lost six of its last nine games.

Gavin Sheets, Billy Hamilton and Zack Collins each singled off Emmanuel Clase (4-5) to lead off the seventh inning with the Indians clinging to a 3-2 lead. Sheets scored on an error by first baseman Yu Chang, but Cleveland escaped the bases-loaded jam by recording three consecutive outs.

In the top of the sixth, nursing a 1-0 lead, Zach Plesac allowed consecutive singles to Adam Engel and Leury Garcia with one out before walking Yasmani Grandal to load the bases.

Bryan Shaw relieved Plesac and induced Brian Goodwin to ground into a fielder’s choice before Vaughn ripped a two-run single to left field to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. Goodwin was caught in a rundown to end the inning.

Cleveland answered Chicago’s outburst in the sixth inning with one of its own.

The Indians put two runners on to chase Matt Foster before Chang singled to load the bases. Ruiz recorded a strikeout on three pitches before Miller lined a single to center field to plate two runs and give Cleveland a 3-2 lead.

Ramirez worked a walk off Mike Wright Jr. to lead off the fourth inning before advancing to third base on Franmil Reyes’ single to center field. Wright responded by striking out Bobby Bradley. However, the hurler uncorked a wild pitch while facing Chang that allowed Ramirez to score.

–Field Level Media