Two baseball fans take shelter under an umbrella in their seats as rain falls before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians Tuesday in Chicago. ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHICAGO — The Cleveland Indians got a break after a lengthy rain delay led to the early departure of White Sox ace Chris Sale. They weren’t so lucky earlier in the game before the umpires halted play.
The White Sox scored the first of their two runs in the middle of a downpour in the third inning, Gordon Beckham homered after a lengthy delay and Chicago outlasted Cleveland 2-1 Tuesday night.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona didn’t say much after the game about the delay, but was clearly agitated that his team was forced to continue in the field through heavy rains that forced a delay of nearly 2 hours after the third inning.
“I have no say-so in that,” he said. “That’s not up to me.”
Adam Eaton led off the third with a precipitation-aided single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Conor Gillaspie’s sharply hit single to center to make it 1-0.
Eaton’s single was hit directly to Mike Aviles at third. After the ball sailed past Aviles’ glove, he appeared to indicate to third base umpire and crew chief Ron Culpa that the rain had affected him.
“(Aviles) said it was hard to see and the field was getting wet,” Francona said. “I’m not out in the field and it’s not my decision (when to delay the game).”
Chicago has won eight of 12 to get back to .500 (27-27). The White Sox are 6-3 against Cleveland this season after losing 17 of 19 to their American League Central rival in 2013.
Aviles went 1 for 2 with a walk and drove in Cleveland’s run.
Scott Carroll (2-3) worked three scoreless innings in relief to get the win. Ronald Belisario worked a perfect ninth for his third save in five chances.
“Carroll comes in and does a great job,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “Three scoreless and gets us to a point where we can get to some other guys. . It was a nice job by the bullpen again.”
The anticipated matchup between Sale and Justin Masterson was cut short. The game began 41 minutes late because of rain and then was stopped again after the third inning. That delay lasted 1:58 and neither starter was able to continue.
It was an exchange that Francona was fine with.
“(Masterson) had thrown a lot of pitches, but he managed to kind of get out of there with just the one (run against him),” Francona said. “So that was encouraging because their guy also had to come out of the game. And the way he’s throwing, you feel OK about it.”
Sale, in his second start following a month on the disabled list with a flexor strain, seemed headed for another special outing after allowing just one hit in six scoreless innings against the Yankees last week. He was nearly perfect in his three innings, with the only blemish a one-out walk to Aviles in the third.
“I knew the rain was coming,” Sale said. “I just didn’t want to acquiesce to the conditions or the rain or anything that affected me so, I just wanted to stay the course, go out there like it was a normal one and do my part.”
Masterson (2-4) was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the first. The White Sox then touched him up for a run in the third.
Beckham made it 2-0 after the rain delay when he cranked a homer leading off the fifth against Mark Lowe.
Cleveland got on the board in the seventh when Aviles hit into a fielder’s choice to score Lonnie Chisenhall.
NOTES: INF Jason Kipnis (strained right oblique) ended his rehab assignment Monday and rejoined the Indians before Tuesday’s game. He could have played, but the decision was made not to activate him until today. White Sox RHP Felipe Paulino, who has been on the DL since April 19, was pulled off from his rehab assignment at Class AAA Charlotte because of shoulder soreness. . Indians OF Michael Brantley singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games . Cleveland’s T.J. House (0-1) takes on Hector Noesi (0-4) in the series finale today.