CLEVELAND — Eight years, two trades, three organizations and one release later, left-hander David Holmberg has come full circle.
And Saturday night Holmberg won his first game for the team that originally drafted him — the Chicago White Sox.
Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera each had three hits and an RBI, and Holmberg pitched five solid innings to lead the White Sox to a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
The win halted Chicago’s three-game losing streak.
The White Sox scored three runs in the first inning, an unearned run in the second, and an insurance run in the eighth, and Holmberg and four relievers made it stand up.
Holmberg (1-0) gave up two runs and three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. David Robertson pitched the eighth and ninth innings to pick up his 10th save.
Holmberg’s long and winding road to his first win for the White Sox began in 2009, when the Sox selected him in the second round of the June draft. He was subsequently traded to Arizona, then traded to Cincinnati, granted free agency, signed with Atlanta, was released by Atlanta and, in 2016, signed again with the White Sox.
Holmberg won four major league games during his travels, but Saturday was his first win for the White Sox.
“It’s kind of cool,” Holmberg said. “It’s been a long time since I was drafted here, but I’m happy to finally get my first win for the White Sox.”
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin (3-8) gave up four runs (three earned) and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings.
“He had traffic right from the first inning, and he couldn’t find the feel for his breaking ball,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He didn’t walk anyone, but there were a lot of hits.”
Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana homered for Cleveland. Santana’s homer, a solo shot off reliever Dan Jennings in the sixth inning, cut Chicago’s lead to 4-3. But the White Sox got that run back on a sacrifice fly by Kevan Smith in the eighth.
Holmberg and the relivers took it from there.
“It was nice to have that early cushion. I just tried to attack the hitters,” said Holmberg, who was moved into the rotation after starting the season in the bullpen.
“We were hoping he could give us five (innings),” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He did his job. He minimized the damage, and he did what he does, kept the ball down and gave us a chance.”
The win was Holmberg’s first since July 30, 2015, when he was with Cincinnati.
The White Sox didn’t waste any time driving Tomlin out of the game. Chicago sent seven men to the plate in the first inning, and three of them scored.
Tim Anderson led off with a single to right field and went to second on a single to center by Cabrera. Abreu made it three singles in a row, scoring Anderson with the first run and moving Cabrera to third.
Avisail Garcia got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Todd Frazier’s grounder to third baseman Jose Ramirez was turned into a forceout at home, retiring Cabrera. Matt Davidson singled to left field, scoring Abreu and Garcia.
In the second inning, Leury Garcia hit a fly ball into the left field corner that Michael Brantley dropped for a three-base error. Garcia scored on a single by Cabrera to make it 4-0.
Holmberg held Cleveland scoreless on one hit through the first three innings.
In the fourth, Brantley led off with a double. One out later, Encarnacion hit his second two-run homer in as many nights, a line drive over the left field wall for his 12th homer of the season to cut the Chicago lead to 4-2.
“We didn’t get much going, other than the home runs,” Francona said.
Renteria brought Robertson into the game in the eighth to pitch to the top of the Cleveland lineup, then allowed the closer to pitch the ninth inning as well.
“I wanted to put our best guy out there,” said Renteria, whose team had lost eight of its last nine games, and desperately needed a win.
It was the second two-inning save of Robertson’s career, the other coming Sept. 3, 2011, as a member of the Yankees.
NOTES: Indians RHP Corey Kluber, the winning pitcher Friday night, has received four-plus runs of support in 60 career starts. In those starts his record is 47-1, and the Indians’ are 55-5 in those games. … Indians SS Francisco Lindor hit .309 in April, .245 in May, and is hitting .156 in June. … The White Sox added INF Alen Hanson to the roster before the game. Hanson was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh on Friday. To make room on the roster for Hanson, Chicago optioned OF Adam Engel to Triple-A Charlotte. … White Sox 1B Jose Abreu returned to the lineup after he was removed from Friday’s game in the seventh inning after getting hit in the left leg by a pitch.