By Brendan Ward
Shane Bieber took the mound for the final time in the regular season Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox. Bieber struck out an impressive ten batters, only allowing one run. However, the Indians’ bullpen squandered the lead in the eighth, before Jordan Luplow bombed a walk-off home run to left field in the bottom of the ninth, leading to a 3-2 Indians Victory.
Bieber opened the game his usual self, only allowing a two-out walk in the inning to Jose Abreu, before forcing Eloy Jimenez into a ground out of Abreu at second to end the top of the first.
A lead-off walk from Francisco Lindor opened things up for the Tribe against White Sox starter Lucas Giolito. To no avail, as César Hernández popped up to third, before José Ramírez grounded into a double play that ended the first.
Former Indian Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk from Bieber to start off the second inning for the White Sox. However, Bieber would rebound strongly, striking out the next three batters to bring his total to four through two innings.
In the Bottom, Carlos Santana opened the scoring with a lead-off home run to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. Giolito then returned the favor, striking out three straight to end the inning.
Bieber’s dominance continued into the third, retiring the White Sox in order to keep his lead at one.
The Indians offense threatened to add on in the bottom of the second, as Roberto Pérez led the inning off with a single, before Mercado struck out for the first out. Lindor followed up the Mercado out singling to right field to put a runner in scoring position.
With only one out and a runner in scoring position, Hernández would be forced into a ground out of Lindor at second, putting runners at the corners with two outs. A Ramírez walk loaded the bases and forced a mound visit from White Sox manager Rick Renteria. After the visit, Giolito struck out Santana to end the inning.
A Ramírez error would allow Abreu to reach first to lead off the fourth, before an Eloy Jimenez double put runners at second and third with nobody out. Encarnacion would bring in Abreu with the ensuing at-bat, grounding out to Lindor for the first out of the inning. Bieber kept the game tied, returning to strike out the next two batters to end the top.
Giolito continued to pour it on the Indians in another impressive outing in the bottom, striking out all three batters he faced in the inning.
A wild fifth would prove to be the final inning for Bieber on the year, opening things up striking out Adam Engel. Nick Madrigal singled to center field in the next at-bat, before Bieber struckout Anderson for the second out. Two wild pitches from Bieber would move Madrigal to third, while in the same at-bat Bieber surrendered a walk to Yoan Moncada.
With runners at the corners and two out in the inning, a mound visit from skipper Sandy Alomar Jr. would set Bieber on the right path. Facing the threat, Bieber went on to strikeout Abreu to end the inning.
Giolito came on in the bottom to sit the Indians down in order for the second straight inning, continuing his dominant game, preserving the tie at one to end the fifth.
Indians rookie starter Triston McKenzie would come on for the first time in a bullpen role in place of Bieber to open the sixth. McKenzie surrendered a one-out single to Encarnacion in the inning, before coming back to strike out James McCann and forcing Luis Robert to fly out to end the inning.
Giolito came on for his final inning in the bottom of the sixth, striking out Hernández to start it off. Ramírez walked in the next at-bat, before Santana doubled to threaten Giolito with one out. With runners at second and third, a good at-bat from Franmil Reyes led to a sacrifice fly, scoring Ramírez to give the Tribe a 2-1 lead at the end of six.
McKenzie came back to the mound in the seventh to retire the side in order in an impressive first showing out of the bullpen, striking out three in only two innings of work.
In the bottom, the White Sox called on Garrett Crochet to relieve Giolito. An impressive inning, as Crochet struck out two of the three batters he faced in the inning to keep the Tribe lead at one.
James Karinchak started the eighth in place of McKenzie, surrendering the lead in the inning. Moncado opened the inning with a triple to right field, scoring in the next at-bat thanks to a sacrifice fly from Abreu to tie things up with one out in the inning. A throwing error from Hernández kept things alive after the second out of the inning, allowing Encarnacion to reach first, before Karinchak struck out McCann to end the inning.
The White Sox called on Codi Heuer to keep the Indians at bay in the eighth. Heuer obliged, only allowing Ramírez to reach on an error and walking Santana before striking out Reyes, keeping things tied headed to the ninth.
Brad Hand came on to give the Indians a chance at a second straight walk-off win in the ninth. Hand succeeded at his job, retiring the White Sox in order to keep the game tied at two.
Gio Gonzalez came on to replace Heuer to try to stifle the Indians offense and send the game to extra innings.
Gonzalez opened the inning forcing Delino Deshields Jr. into a ground out for the first out of the inning. However, Luplow would become tonight’s hero in the lineup in the next at-bat, bombing a walk-off home run to left field to give the Indians the 3-2 win.
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