White Sox are no match for Guardians, Triston McKenzie

The Sox have lost the first two games of the three-game series against the Guardians, falling six games behind in the AL Central.

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Andrew Vaughn drops a fly ball.

Andrew Vaughn and Yoan Moncada (10) converge on a fly ball dropped by Vaughn in the third inning against the Guardians on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

On the day after the White Sox were essentially eliminated from playoff contention, they looked like a team that was never really in it, losing 8-2 to the American League Central-leading Guardians on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox (76-73) dropped to six games behind Cleveland (82-67) with 13 to play.

Lance Lynn allowed six runs over six innings but three of the runs were unearned. And from the get-go, the Sox looked flat at third base where Yoan Moncada was involved in three negative results at the hot corner.

Moncada, who has played good defense this season, took his time on a ground ball that a hustling Amed Rosario beat out for a hit in the first inning. After Lynn walked Josh Naylor, Moncada stepped on third and threw across his body for an attempted double play but Jose Abreu couldn’t glove the throw on a bounce, allowing Oscar Gonzalez to reach first. Andres Gimenez then bounced an infield single off Moncada.

Acting manager Miguel Cairo said he discussed the play, which seemed to set a bad tone for the evening, with Moncada after the inning.

“I didn’t want to get into the difficult bounce,” Moncada said through translator Billy Russo. “That was my read of the ground ball, just prepare to step back and then try to rush it at the end.”

In the third, left fielder Andrew Vaughn charged in as Moncada peeled off on Naylor’s popup but dropped the ball starting a three-run inning. The lackluster defensive effort was typical of what ailed the Sox all season, a year after they easily won the division.

“Nothing surprises me, especially when you play like [crap] all year,” Lynn said.

“We put ourselves in a hole from not playing as well as we could.”

Lynn said he didn’t pitch well enough, allowing nine hits including a homer to Steven Kwan. Naylor homered against Jose Ruiz.

Moncada did homer against Triston McKenzie, who struck out 13 and walked none over eight innings of two-run ball.

The Sox are 13-7 under Cairo and lost two games in a row for the first time since Cairo took over Tony La Russa’s duties. Cleveland goes for a series sweep Thursday.

“I’m just going to see who is going to show up tomorrow and play,” Cairo said. “Whoever don’t want to play, I already told them if you don’t want to be here, they can get out. But I know they are going to show.”

Anderson will play before end of season

Tim Anderson, recovering from surgery on the middle finger of his left hand, tracked pitches from Lucas Giolito and moved closer to being activated. It seems more likely Anderson will join the Sox with a minor-league rehab assignment, and Cairo said he will definitely play, and play regularly when he returns, this season.

Cease in select company

Dylan Cease, who pitched six innings of one-run ball in a 10-7 loss to Cleveland in 11 innings Tuesday, allowed one earned run or less for the 22nd time this season, the most among MLB starters. Julio Urias of the Dodgers ranks second with 19.

Cease’s 22 starts allowing one earned run or less are one shy of Wilbur Wood’s club record of 23 in 1972. The last MLB starter to allowed one earned run or less 22 or more times was Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell in 2018 (23).

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