A five-run fourth inning gave pitcher Michael Kopech all the support he needed in a standout start, and the Chicago White Sox avoided a divisional sweep with their 6-0 defeat of the host Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday.
Kopech (3-4) earned his second win in as many starts, and third over his last four appearances, going seven innings with nine strikeouts and only two hits allowed. Kopech did not surrender his first hit until the fifth inning -- and by then, had a six-run cushion thanks to the White Sox's fourth-inning deluge.
Walks drawn by leadoff batter Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets bookended Andrew Vaughn's infield single. The sequence loaded the bases with no outs, setting the table for Chicago's pivotal inning.
All three to get aboard at the start of the fourth scored, with Moncada driven in on a Jake Burger sacrifice fly. Clint Frazier then singled before Romy Gonzalez doubled to send both Sheets and Vaughn home.
A wild pitch allowed Frazier to score, and Seby Zavala's sacrifice fly capped the big inning, sending Gonzalez home.
The five-run explosion followed Tim Anderson's RBI single that drove in Frazier to give Chicago a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
All six White Sox runs were credited as earned to Cal Quantrill (2-3), the Guardians starter. Quantrill pitched four innings in which he walked three and allowed four hits -- the only four hits Chicago had all game.
Cleveland relievers Eli Morgan -- who struck out three in two innings -- Nick Sandlin, Sam Hentges and James Karinchak combined for five innings without allowing a base-runner. The Guardians bullpen's strong, collective effort was a bright spot in an otherwise tough series finale for Cleveland.
Chicago relievers Reynaldo Lopez and Jimmy Lambert, meanwhile, each pitched an inning to complete the White Sox's second shutout win in six outings. Chicago blanked fellow American League Central counterpart Kansas City on May 19, 2-0, in Kopech's most recent start.
Kopech has not allowed a run since May 12.
--Field Level Media