Go figure: White Sox blanked by Gaddis, Guardians

Mike Zunino, who had one hit in May going in, hit a two-run homer in the Guardians’ 3-0 victory.

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Yoan Moncada reacts after being hit by a pitch Monday in Cleveland. (AP)

Yoan Moncada reacts after being hit by a pitch from Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Hunter Gaddis during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 22, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP)

AP Photos

CLEVELAND — Guardians right-hander Hunter Gaddis entered with an 0-1 record and 6.86 ERA. He allowed a club-record-tying five homers in a loss to the White Sox on Sept. 15 at Progressive Field.

On Monday, Gaddis held the Sox to no runs and two hits in six innings for his first major-league win.

Guardians catcher Mike Zunino, who had one hit in May, barely cleared the right-field wall for a home run against Gregory Santos in the seventh inning.

Go figure.

You’ve got to figure the Sox were positioned to keep a three-game winning streak going as they opened an important seven-game road trip on their journey to find respectability, but they lost 3-0 with a lackluster offensive performance against Gaddis and four relievers.

Three hits — on a night when Triple-A call-up Jesse Scholtens provided five tidy innings — is no way to treat a rickety won-lost record desperately needing an influx of victories when the getting is good against a weak portion of the schedule.

The result dropped the Sox to 19-30, three games behind third-place Cleveland in the American League Central. The Guardians had lost three in a row.

“Everyone has their day in this game,” reasoned second baseman Romy Gonzalez, who made an outstanding play in the field but struck out three times. “Everyone’s a professional; everyone’s the best in the world. He definitely had his day. You tip your cap to him.”

Scholtens (0-2, 2.25 ERA), recalled to take Mike Clevinger’s spot on the 26-man roster after Clevinger landed on the 15-day injured list with wrist inflammation Sunday, gave the Sox a chance by pitching one-run, two-hit ball after Jimmy Lambert pitched a scoreless first inning as the starter.

It was Lambert’s first appearance in 10 days after he appeared in 19 of the Sox’ first 40 games and the first time the Sox went outside of their rotation of Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Clevinger.

A leadoff walk in the second inning cost Scholtens, who put Gabriel Arias on and watched him score on a low-and-away not-too-wild pitch to Myles Straw that eluded catcher Yasmani Grandal’s backhand attempt with two outs.

The Sox wasted opportunities when Andrew Benintendi doubled with one out in the fourth and when Andrew Vaughn singled Clint Frazier to second with one out in the seventh.

“Couldn’t get anything done,” manager Pedro Grifol said.

In the seventh, Grifol replaced left-hander Garrett Crochet with Santos with a runner on and two outs, and Zunino hit one beyond the reach of a leaping Frazier, who entered as a pinch hitter for Gavin Sheets.

“We felt it was a really good matchup for Santos,” Grifol said.

“If you have a guy like Santos coming in, throwing 98 to 100 [mph] with a good slider that he throws for strikes, we like that matchup really well.”

At least Scholtens, who had a 3.99 ERA in seven starts at Charlotte, earned another appearance, perhaps a start, on the next turn, Saturday in Detroit, vacated by Clevinger.

“We have to wait and see what projected lineups come our way in Detroit and play it by ear,” Grifol said.

“I just tried to get myself ready and execute as many pitches until they told me to stop, and that’s what I did,” said Scholtens, 29, who made his major-league debut in April.

The Sox’ bullpen had a streak of 19⅔ scoreless innings snapped.

For these Sox, it’s always time to get another streak going.

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