Triston McKenzie struck out 13 batters over eight innings to fuel the visiting Cleveland Guardians to an 8-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
The strikeout total fell one shy of a career high for McKenzie (11-11), who fanned 14 batters in the Guardians’ 5-2 victory versus the White Sox on Aug. 19.
On Wednesday, McKenzie allowed two runs on six hits to improve to 2-0 in four outings against Chicago this season.
Josh Naylor launched a two-run homer and rookie Steven Kwan had a solo shot among his three hits for the American League Central-leading Guardians (82-67), who have won 12 of their last 14 contests. Cleveland resides six games ahead of the second-place White Sox (76-73) with 13 games to play.
Andres Gimenez collected a pair of RBI singles and Will Brennan added an RBI single in his major league debut for the Guardians.
Yoan Moncada launched a homer to lead off the fourth inning and Gavin Sheets had an RBI single in the seventh for Chicago, which has lost the first two contests of this pivotal three-game set. The series finale is Thursday night.
Cleveland got the early jump by quickly loading the bases against Lance Lynn (7-6) in the first inning before Kwan scored on a fielder’s choice by Oscar Gonzalez. Gimenez’s infield single plated Naylor to give the Guardians a 2-0 lead.
Cleveland extended its lead in the third inning following consecutive RBI singles to center field by Gimenez and Brennan, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game. Shortly thereafter, Gimenez came around to score on a double play to give the Guardians a 5-0 advantage.
Kwan provided the exclamation point to lead off the fourth inning by depositing a first-pitch fastball from Lynn over the wall in right field. Kwan’s homer was his fifth of the season.
Lynn permitted six runs (three earned) on nine hits in six innings to sustain his first loss since Aug. 9.
Naylor capped the scoring in the seventh after sending a 1-0 changeup from Jose Ruiz over the wall in right-center field. The homer was Naylor’s 19th of the season and second in his last three games.
–Field Level Media