CLEVELAND - Francisco Lindor and Bradley Zimmer each homered and drove in two runs, propelling the Cleveland Indians to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday.
Aaron Civale (1-0) struck out a career-high nine and allowed two runs over six innings in his first start of the season. Brad Hand gave up an RBI single to Yasmani Grandal in the ninth before picking up his second save for the Indians, who never trailed.
“It definitely helped when we got out to an early lead and made me feel more comfortable,” Civale said. “We’ve got some really good hitters, so when you get the lead, you’ve got to keep it.”
White Sox manager Rick Renteria, who had been isolated in a downtown hotel after experiencing a cough and a stuffy nose Monday, returned to the team during batting practice after testing negative for COVID-19.
The 58-year-old was tested at a Cleveland hospital and said he was diagnosed with a chest cold. He did not miss a game because the series opener was rained out.
“Everybody sees what’s going on throughout the league,” Renteria said. “It’s best that we err on the side of caution. We have the things available to us to make sure we are clear. So it worked, and I’m back relatively quickly.”
Lindor hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Zimmer had a solo shot in the second as Cleveland took a 3-0 lead off Dylan Cease (0-1). Zimmer added an RBI single in the third to make it 4-1.
“Bradley helped us win a game today, which is good because we love the kid,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Zimmer, who homered for the first time since May 4, 2018. “We’re hoping he can stay healthy because we know what he can do for us.”
Tim Anderson, last year’s AL batting champ, went 3 for 5 with a third-inning homer, two doubles and all three of Chicago’s runs. Jose Abreu’s RBI groundout in the fifth scored Anderson, cutting the Indians’ lead to 4-2.
The White Sox loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Nick Wittgren, but Leury García hit into a fielder’s choice and Zack Collins flied out.
Cease gave up four runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Five relievers combined to blank Cleveland the rest of the way.
“I just wasn’t very sharp,” Cease said. “Bad fastball command. Just not a good game.”
Indians pitchers have 54 strikeouts through four games, the second most in major league history to Cincinnati’s 59, also set this season.
White Sox: OF Eloy Jiménez (head) took batting practice and ran the bases but remains day to day, bench coach Joe McEwing said. The 23-year-old slugger was hurt Sunday when he crashed into the left field wall against Minnesota.
Indians: OF Tyler Naquin (fractured right big toe) is eligible to be activated from the 10-day injured list on Aug. 1. He did not appear in Cleveland’s first two games and was retroactively placed on the IL on July 25.
White Sox DH Edwin Encarnación, who signed a one-year contract with a club option, spent 2017 and 2018 with the Indians. Francona joked he wasn’t happy about the move. “I think my first word was crap,” he said. “I would rather him drive in less runs for them than he did for us. That’s the hope. Still love the guy.”
White Sox LHP Carlos Rodón and Indians RHP Adam Plutko made their initial starts of the season in the nightcap. Rodon hasn’t pitched in a regular season game since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 15, 2019.