CLEVELAND — Rookie right-hander Dylan Cease returned to the visitors’ dugout after the first inning and slammed his glove.
For the normally stoic Cease, it was an unusual show of frustration but understandable for a prospect held in such high regard who had just allowed yet another home run. Francisco Lindor’s 27th came on Cease’s second pitch on a night he set out to stop the White Sox’ seven-game skid.
“I don’t like giving up home runs,” Cease said.
But Cease, who entered with a 6.92 ERA and 13 homers allowed in 10 starts, already had begun to get untracked with two strikeouts in the inning. Using a four-pitch repertoire, mixing and throwing them all for strikes, he would go on to strike out a season-high 11 in the Sox’ 6-5 victory Tuesday against the postseason-pushing Indians in what Cease, catcher James McCann and manager Rick Renteria agreed was his best performance.
“The best he’s thrown since he’s been here hands down,” said McCann, who hit a tying three-run homer against Carlos Carrasco in the eighth inning before Eloy Jimenez hit the go-ahead homer.
Jimenez, acquired with Cease in the Jose Quintana trade with the Cubs, had a huge night. He also doubled in the tying run in the second inning, hit a 442-foot homer against Mike Clevinger to tie the game in the seventh and broke a 5-5 tie with two outs in the eighth with his 24th homer.
Aaron Bummer pitched a scoreless eighth, and Alex Colome threw a hitless ninth for his 26th save.
In one stretch, Cease retired 10 consecutive batters.
“For the most part, I was throwing the ball where I wanted to,” Cease said. “Really, it was just some of the stuff I was working on finally coming together. That’s how I feel I’m capable of pitching and what I expect.”
Cease issued two walks — to the last two batters he faced with two outs in the seventh after he struck out Yasiel Puig and Jake Bauers looking to open the inning — and both would score on Roberto Perez’s tiebreaking three-run homer against right-hander Evan Marshall. Cease was lifted after throwing 106 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Those walks and the homer would make Cease’s line of 6‰ innings, four hits, four runs, two walks and 11 strikeouts look worse than it was. Cease entered the game on the heels of a two-inning washout in which he allowed eight runs and 10 hits against the Twins.
“The box may not show it, but he had all four pitches working; he could throw all four anytime,” McCann said.
Eloy in select class
Jimenez, who leads American League rookies in homers, hit his first one 442 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph. The second one just cleared the wall in right.
“I don’t want to lie to you,” Jimenez said. “I first thought it was maybe out on the warning track. But when I saw Puig keep running, I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ When I saw it was gone, that was amazing for me.”
Jimenez is the third Sox rookie with four multihomer games, joining Jose Abreu in 2014 and Zeke Bonura in 1934.
Cheers for Carrasco
Sox players, along with the home crowd, stood and applauded Carrasco after he entered to open the eighth inning. It was the righty’s second appearance and first at home since making his return after being diagnosed with leukemia.