CHICAGO - Kyle Freeland outdueled Dylan Cease and put a dent in a push by the Chicago White Sox for a playoff spot, pitching 6 2/3 shutout innings as the Colorado Rockies earned a 3-0 victory Wednesday.
The White Sox fell four games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland with 19 games remaining. Chicago travels to Cleveland for a makeup game Thursday, and the teams return to Chicago for a three-game series starting Sept. 20.
"I’ll be talking to them," White Sox acting manager Miguel Cairo said. "I’ll say, ‘Hey, we still got a chance. Do our job and put pressure on (the Guardians).’ "
Freeland (9-9) frustrated a Chicago lineup that was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. He worked around seven hits and three walks, striking out five.
"I thought the fastball played as well as anytime all year," Colorado manager Bud Black said.
Freeland has posted a 2.17 ERA over his last four starts. Chicago fell to 20-9 in games started by Cease.
Daniel Bard struck out three in the ninth for his 30th save.
Cease (14-7), a contender for the AL Cy Young Award, threw 56 pitches in the first two innings.
"I thought we had a great approach," Black said. "We laid off a lot of borderline pitches. So I think that was the key. He’s got such great stuff, right? And he gets strikeouts in and out of the zone. And our guys were stingy out of the zone. They trusted their eyes and made him work."
Alan Trejo, filling in for injured Jose Iglesias, hit an RBI double in the second to snap Cease’s 16-inning scoreless streak. Yonathan Daza singled home a run later in the inning.
Daza reached near the top of the left-field fence to rob Seby Zavala of an extra base hit with two runners on base to end the Chicago fourth.
Ryan McMahon opened the fifth with a double off Cease and scored on C.J. Cron’s single.
Freeland said Cease is having a great season, "but we got him today."
The White Sox put at least one runner in scoring position in the first five innings against Freeland but didn’t score. A.J. Pollock grounded into a double play in the second, struck out with runners at first and second in the fourth and grounded to third with a runner at second to end the eighth.
Chicago brought the tying run to the plate with two out in the seventh, but newly summoned reliever Carlos Estevez struck out Yoan Moncada.
"At the end of the day, we all know what the stakes are," Cease said. "So you can either let that get to you, or let that fuel you."
STABILITY AT THE TOP
After receiving long-awaited results from the offense, Cairo said he’s leaning more toward a set lineup at the top.
"Right now, something is working so I’m going to keep going," Cairo said before the White Sox fielded their 141st different lineup. Cairo still stuck with a lineup that features Elvis Andrus at the top, followed by Moncada, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez. "I will mix up sixth and seventh," Cairo said. "I will mix it up, but not much."
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson (middle left finger surgery) received treatment, one day after performing baseball work. Anderson is expected to resume fielding duties Thursday, Cairo said.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (8-10, 5.25) starts Friday against the Cubs. Marquez allowed nine runs in four innings in a 13-10 win over the Diamondbacks Sept. 9.
White Sox: RHP Lance Lynn (6-5, 4.07) starts Thursday against the Guardians. Lynn allowed two runs in six innings in a 10-2 win over the Athletics Sept. 10.