Zunino hits 2-run homer, Gaddis gets 1st win, Guardians beat White Sox 3-0 to end slide

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND – Mike Zunino‘s critics have been silenced – for a day or two.

Mired in a miserable slump in May, Zunino connected for a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help Hunter Gaddis get his first major league win and lead the Cleveland Guardians over the Chicago White Sox 3-0 on Monday night.

Zunino was just 1 for 31 with 21 strikeouts this month – he recently struck out in 17 straight games – before delivering his biggest moment since signing a $6 million, one-year contract with Cleveland as a free agent in the offseason.

With the Guardians, who have played an MLB-high 22 one-run games, clinging to a 1-0 lead and rookie Gabriel Arias on first with two outs, Zunino drove a pitch from Gregory Santos to right. The ball barely crept over the wall for his third homer, one that must have felt for Zunino like it went 500 feet.

“Hopefully that’s one of those that turns the corner here,” he said.

Cleveland fans have been clamoring for the team to bring up catcher Bo Naylor from Triple-A Columbus to start. And while that still may be the case, Zunino finally gave the Guardians a return on their investment.

“I was so happy,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “You could hear our whole dugout. He shows up every day and he’s been working like crazy and hasn’t had a lot to show for it. You grow pretty fond of these guys and you want them to have some success, and it made me feel good when I saw the way the dugout reacted.”

Gaddis (1-1) was recalled from Triple-A Columbus and gave the Guardians a badly needed quality start after they were swept over the weekend in New York, losing all three to the Mets by one run.

The right-hander gave up just two hits, combining with four relievers on a three-hitter to end Chicago’s modest three-game winning streak.

It was personally satisfying for Gaddis, who was torched for five homers in just four innings against Chicago on Sept. 15 – his second major league start.

“I would be lying if I didn’t think of that,” Gaddis said. “So yeah, it definitely makes it a little better.”

Sam Hentges, Nick Sandlin and Trevor Stephan combined for two scoreless innings before Emmanuel Clase worked a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 16th save in 21 chances. Clase has had his own issues lately, blowing his fifth save on Friday.

“It’s always keeping your head up,” Clase said through an interpreter. “This is a difficult game. They’re going to be ups and downs and the other teams are also competing. I know sometimes we’re not going to get our way, but the important part is to be able to go there with a head up and compete in the best way we can.”

The Guardians scored their first run in the second on a wild pitch by Jesse Scholtens (0-2), who was otherwise solid in allowing just two hits in five innings. The right-hander recalled to replace Mike Clevinger, who went on the injured list with wrist inflammation.

“He pounded the strike zone and made some good pitches when he needed to,” said Sox manager Pedro Grifol. “He did a nice job for us. He’s a good guy to have around, especially in the minor leagues in case something like this happens. He can pitch a little bit.”


The Guardians observed a pregame moment of silence for legendary Browns running back Jim Brown, who died last week at the age of 87. Brown played nine seasons in Cleveland and led the NFL in rushing eight times.


White Sox: RHP Liam Hendriks (cancer treatment) threw his second bullpen session in four days as he continues to work his way back. Grifol stood in the batter’s box to observe the shape of Hendriks’ pitches, and was impressed with wat he saw. “His slider was really, really good,” Grifol said. He’s getting really close.” Hendricks, who is in remission for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will likely throw again Thursday in Detroit.

Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (shoulder strain) is scheduled to make a second rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said McKenzie will throw four innings or 60-65 pitches. He’s eligible to come off the injured list on May 29. RHP Aaron Civale (oblique strain) is also nearing his return. He’ll start for Columbus on Tuesday.


Guardians rookie LHP Logan Allen (1-1, 3.04) starts against Chicago’s Dylan Cease (2-3, 4.79), who lost to Cleveland last week.

MLB, WNBA postpone games due to smoke from Canadian wildfires

mlb canadian wildfires
1 Comment

NEW YORK — With the stench of smoke permeating Yankee Stadium and wafting through its walkways, Major League Baseball postponed games in New York and Philadelphia on Wednesday night because of poor air quality caused by Canadian wildfires.

A National Women’s Soccer League game in New Jersey and an indoor WNBA game set for Brooklyn were also called off Wednesday amid hazy conditions that have raised alarms from health authorities.

The New York Yankees’ game against the Chicago White Sox was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, and the Philadelphia Phillies’ game against the Detroit Tigers was reset for 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, originally a day off for both teams.

“These postponements were determined following conversations throughout the day with medical and weather experts and all of the impacted clubs regarding clearly hazardous air quality conditions in both cities,” MLB said in a statement.

The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for New York City, saying: “the New York State Department of Health recommends that individuals consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects.” In Philadelphia, the NWS issued a Code Red.

The Yankees and White Sox played through a lesser haze on Tuesday night. A day later, stadium workers and fans arriving early to the ballpark wore face masks for protection in a scene reminiscent of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was business as usual for me coming in. I got in around 12, 12:30, and didn’t really think too much of it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I actually walked outside about 2 o’clock and was like – like everyone else, like – whoa.”

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol thought MLB made the right decision postponing the game.

“These are health issues, right? So this has got to be it. We’ve been through everything – snow, rain, hail. I don’t think I’ve been through something like this,” he said. “Today at one point, it was pretty bad out there. We walked out of the dugout and it was kind of orange. They did the right thing. They got all the information.

“I’m assuming if Major League Baseball is comfortable setting up a doubleheader tomorrow, they have some type of information that it should be better than what it is today, or at least safe.”

In Philadelphia, the Phillies beat the Tigers 1-0 on Tuesday night in a game played in hazy conditions with the smell of smoke in the air. Afterward, manager Rob Thomson and his Phillies players said the conditions didn’t affect them.

About a half-hour before Wednesday’s postponement, Thomson said he thought the game would be played. But the Philadelphia skyline could not be seen from the ballpark in the afternoon, and the smoky smell remained.

Minor league teams nearby also changed plans. The Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania, and the Mets’ top farm club in Syracuse, New York, postponed their games for the second consecutive night.

The Mets’ High-A affiliate in Brooklyn completed a game Wednesday against Greenville that began at 11 a.m.

The WNBA called off a game between the Minnesota Lynx and New York Liberty, saying the decision was made to “protect the health and safety of our fans, teams and community.” A makeup date wasn’t immediately announced.

Even inside Barclays Center at the morning shootaround, reporters could smell smoke in the arena.

The NWSL postponed Orlando’s match at Gotham in Harrison, New Jersey, from Wednesday night to Aug. 9.

“The match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index,” the NWSL said.

At nearby Belmont Park, the New York Racing Association said training went on as planned Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s Triple Crown horse race. However, NYRA canceled training Thursday morning at Belmont and Saratoga Race Course upstate “due to poor air quality conditions forecast to impact New York State overnight and into Thursday morning.”

NYRA said a decision about Thursday’s live racing program, scheduled to begin at 3:05 p.m., will be made Thursday morning “following a review of the air quality conditions and forecast.”

“NYRA utilizes external weather services and advanced on-site equipment to monitor weather conditions and air quality in and around Belmont Park,” spokesman Patrick McKenna said Wednesday. “Training was conducted normally today, and NYRA will continue to assess the overall environment to ensure the safety of training and racing throughout the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.”

New York’s NFL teams, the Giants and Jets, both had Wednesday off from offseason workouts. The Giants had been planning to practice inside Thursday, and the Jets said they are also likely to work out indoors Thursday.

Youth sports in the area were also affected, with parents quick to voice concern about their children’s safety outdoors.

In a statement Wednesday, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said schools should understand that all schedules were subject to change.

“NJSIAA is closely monitoring air quality data across New Jersey and local/state health advisories. As start times for athletic events draw near, we will make decisions for each venue and sport based on currently available information,” the organization said.

It’s not the first time in recent years that wildfires forced changes to the MLB schedule. A two-game series in Seattle between the Mariners and Giants was moved to San Francisco in September 2020 because of poor air quality caused by West Coast wildfires.

About an hour after Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium was postponed, two fans visiting on vacation from Vancouver, British Columbia, were still lingering outside the ballpark.

“It’s just circumstances. What do I say? It makes me disappointed because this is one of the highlights of the trip,” said Malcolm, who was in town with his daughter and didn’t want to give his last name.

“I have a heart condition. That’s the only reason I’m wearing two masks and whatever. And my personal thought is that, why wasn’t it canceled two days ago? Because we knew about all this two days ago. But having said that, I don’t want the players running around and putting out in this, too. It can’t be good for them.”