With 12 comeback wins in their pocket, maybe the White Sox felt like they had the Indians where they wanted them, trailing most of the night Tuesday.
Having that come-from-behind mojo has kept the Sox amped up from the first out to the last, but there was none of that against 24-year-old right-hander Trevor Bauer, who has been a handful for the Sox in three outings this season. Bauer held the Sox to a run on four hits over 7 1/3 innings in a 3-1 Indians victory, and the Sox winning streak came to an end at six games before a paid crowd of 15,681 at U.S. Cellular Field.
“The more you do something the more comfortable you’re going to be in that situation,’’ 11-year veteran Adam LaRoche said of the Sox’ comeback traits. “I think we’ve all proven to ourselves that we can fight back. It’s not going to happen every night.’’
Not on nights when Bauer (3-1, 3.31), who is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Sox this season, is on.
“He was absolutely in control and in command of his pitches,’’ Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera said. “His cutter was nasty today. He had a very good night.’’
Jose Quintana (2-4) pitched out of enough jams to keep the Sox in striking distance. He walked four (one intentionally) and allowed eight hits over seven innings but was nicked for only two runs. It was the first time Quintana lost to Cleveland during his career.
The Sox (18-18) were trying to get to two games over .500 for the first time since they were 8-6 last season, but they got off to a bad start when right fielder Avisail Garcia misjudged Jason Kipnis’ liner, breaking in instead of back and running it down for a triple. Kipnis scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley.
Bauer was in command early, retiring the first 11 hitters he faced before Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 14 with a two-out double over the center-field wall with two outs in the fourth, then scoring on Garcia’s single over shortstop. Bauer walked Conor Gillaspie to load the bases, but Alexei Ramirez struck out to end the threat.
The Indians regained the lead at 2-1 on a double by Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the inning. Brandon Moss’ homer against Zach Putnam in the eighth made it 3-1 Cleveland.
Manager Robin Ventura gave Bauer and the Indians credit and quickly turned the page to Wednesday.
“It’s just one night. You tip your cap to them and get back at it,’’ Ventura said.
With 10 wins in their last 14 games and having survived a terrible start, the Sox feel like they’ve turned a corner.
“I was looking around the plane and seeing the chemistry building,’’ right-hander Scott Carroll said. “Guys are starting to bond and have things click. It’s translating on the field. It’s fun to be a part of it. It’s for days and for seasons like this that you play this game.
“Guys are coming into their own and starting to gel more and more. It’s like [Chris] Sale said [after Monday’s 2-1 win in 10 innings], having confidence in themselves and confidence in each other.”
Ventura has seen his team bounce back in the big picture as well. Hitting .281 with 70 runs scored over their last 15 games compared to .246 with with 64 runs scored in their first 20. There was scuffling defense and poor baserunning as well, a trend that seems to be turning around.
“This team going through the early part of the season, as tough as it was, you learn you can bounce back from stuff,’’ Ventura said.
LaRoche said Ventura’s steady demeanor throughout has gone over well in the clubhouse.
“Robin hasn’t changed and I can’t imagine him changing,’’ LaRoche said. “That’s a gift that not all managers have. He comes with the same approach and mentality every day. And there’s just no panic out of him, which we really respect.’’