Right-hander Dylan Cease was scratched from his last start of the season with a strained left hamstring Thursday, not the way the 23-year-old wanted his first season to end.
Five pitchers — backed by eight runs of support, including two home runs by Daniel Palka and one by James McCann — were there to pick him up in an 8-0 victory against the Indians.
Jose Abreu doubled and tripled for the first time this year and collected his American League-leading 123rd RBI, the most in a season by a Sox player since Magglio Ordonez had 135 in 2002. Zack Collins had two hits, including an RBI double.
Palka’s homers were his first extra-base hits in 84 plate appearances. He led the Sox with 27 home runs last season. McCann has notched career highs in homers (18), doubles (26), RBI (60) and extra-base hits (45).
In Cease’s place, the Sox (70-88) used right-handed reliever Jose Ruiz for 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings to start and got a career-high 3 1⁄3 innings of hitless ball from lefty Josh Osich (4-0), two scoreless innings from righty Jimmy Cordero and one each from lefties Jace Fry and Hector Santiago.
“The bullpen kind of got thrown in that game, but we locked it down,” said Osich, who is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his last 15 appearances.
Cease’s season over
Cease finishes his season with a 4-7 record and 5.79 ERA. He was scheduled to make his 15th career start and was entering with a head of steam after going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 28 strikeouts in four starts in September. In his last seven starts, Cease had 46 strikeouts against 15 walks.
“This was a really good season for me,” Cease said. “I didn’t necessarily perform how I would have liked to, but I learned a lot from it. So I feel excited for next year.”
Cease felt the hamstring tighten up on him with four pitches left in his warmup.
Anderson’s offense: Title quest continues
Shortstop Tim Anderson, who entered with a .339 batting average for an 11-point lead for the AL batting title, had one hit in his four at-bats before being pinch-hit for by Danny Mendick. Anderson’s average dropped one point to .338.
Anderson’s defense: Room to improve
Anderson is on track to lead the AL in hitting and errors. But manager Rick Renteria says it’s within Anderson’s realm to cut the errors in half if he refrains from dropping his arm on some throws and releases from over the top.
“What are my goals for him? To cut everything in half in terms of the errors,” Renteria said. “Is he capable of doing that? Yes.
“Sometimes he’s throwing from a lower angle, even from deep short. That’s a little tougher because the ball ends up fading. You’ve got to stay on top and through the ball.”
This and that
The Sox play a doubleheader against the Tigers on Friday, and with rain in the forecast, the start time was moved up from 3:40 to 3:10.
† Eloy Jimenez missed a second straight start with an ear and throat infection but could be available Friday, Renteria said.
† Yoan Moncada (1-for-4) leads the AL with a .404 batting average in September.