McKenzie gets 14 Ks, Guardians rally 5-2 over White Sox

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND – Triston McKenzie struck out a career-high 14 batters and the Cleveland Guardians scored four runs with two outs in the seventh to rally for a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

McKenzie (9-9) struck out eight of the last 10 hitters he faced and didn’t walk a batter in seven innings, but left with his team trailing 2-1.

Rookie Steven Kwan tripled into the right field corner with two outs in the seventh to score Luke Maile, who had doubled. Amed Rosario‘s single through the left side giving the AL Central-leading Cleveland the lead, then the Guardians loaded the bases before All-Star Andres Gimenez added a two-run single.

It’s the second time in the week where Cleveland had a big inning with two outs, the other coming in the eighth against Detroit on Wednesday.

All-Star Jose Ramirez hit a solo homer in the sixth for No. 23 of the year, and reaching 99 RBIs this season.

Trevor Stephan pitched the eighth while Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances.

The third-place White Sox fell to 3 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the division. Jose Abreu‘s infield hit and Yoan Moncada‘s single gave Chicago the early lead. Reynaldo Lopez (5-3) was charged with three runs in the seventh.

Four of the first five Chicago batters of the game had hits and the White Sox took a 2-0 lead. McKenzie got out of that inning with a double play and dominated the White Sox over his final six innings.

Chicago starter Lance Lynn was removed following Andres Gimenez’s two-out single in the sixth. The right-hander allowed one run and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings.

Andrew Vaughn was hit by a Stephan pitch in the eighth, with the ball appearing to glance off Vaughn’s shoulder and hit him on the left side of the face, Vaughn remained the game. Eloy Jimenez, the next hitter, injured a leg swinging at a pitch and left the game. He was replaced by Adam Engel.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, signed to replace injured Tim Anderson, batted seventh for Chicago and was 0 for 4. Andrus, who turns 34 next week, recently cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: OF Luis Robert (left wrist) took batting practice but missed his seventh consecutive start.

Guardians: C Austin Hedges was removed from the game in the fifth inning with a sprained right ankle. He slid feet first into Cleveland’s dugout chasing a wild pitch with Seby Zavala batting. Maile replaced Hedges.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Johnny Cueto (5-5, 2.78 ERA) worked eight innings – matching a season high -and held Houston to two runs in a win over Houston on Aug. 15.

Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (8-6, 3.18 ERA) has won his last four starts, allowing five runs over 27 innings.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.