CLEVELAND — Michael Brantley missed most of the 2016 season, but the Cleveland outfielder made a heroic return to the lineup Tuesday in the Indians’ home opener.
Brantley’s RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Cleveland Indians a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox before a sellout crowd at Progressive Field. The win snapped Cleveland’s three-game losing streak.
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Francisco Lindor drew a walk from reliever Tommy Kahnle (0-1). The left-handed-hitting Brantley then sliced a double into the left-field corner to score Lindor, who was running on the 3-2 pitch.
Bryan Shaw (1-0) pitched 2/3 of a scoreless inning in the top of the 10th to get the win.
“It was a nice win for us, and to see Michael do that makes it that much better,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
“It’s great to be back and to be a part of the team again. Today we were able to score one more run than them,” said Brantley, who missed most of last year while undergoing two surgeries on his right shoulder.
It was a tough ending for White Sox pitchers, who allowed one run in the first inning and one run in the last inning but pitched eight scoreless innings in between.
“It was a fastball, outside,” Kahnle said. “I hit my spot, but he put a good swing on it and won the game.”
“Tommy did a nice job. He was pounding the zone. But when you hit the ball into the corner on a 3-2 count, with a guy (Lindor) who can run, it’s tough,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said.
There wasn’t much hitting on either side. The teams combined for just 11 hits in 10 innings.
Indians pitchers struck out 12 and did not walk a batter. White Sox pitchers also struck out 12 but walked seven.
However, only the last of those seven walks, to Lindor in the 10th, resulted in a run scoring.
“We pitched and defended well. We just didn’t get the timely hit, and they did,” Renteria said.
Lindor, who has been the Indians’ hottest hitter in the first week of the season, gave Cleveland an early lead with a solo home run off Chicago starter James Shields in the first inning.
The switch-hitting Lindor, batting left-handed, hit a 2-1 pitch into the right-field seats, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.
It was Lindor’s fourth home run of the season. Last year, he did not hit his fourth home run until May 27.
Shields, in his second start of the season, pitched well, retiring 12 batters in a row at one point. He was removed in the sixth with his pitch count at 92.
In 5 1/3 innings, Shields gave up one run and two hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco also pitched well, holding the White Sox to one run and four hits through seven innings.
The only run came on a home run by Todd Frazier leading off the fifth. Frazier came into the game hitting .059 (1-for-17). Frazier doubled and homered in his first two at-bats against Carrasco.
Carrasco pitched seven innings, giving up one run and four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“He pitched really well. Really well,” Francona said. “He established his fastball early and then threw his changeup and curveball for strikes in any count.”
Frazier’s home run tied it at 1, and then it became a battle of the bullpens.
NOTES: Indians 2B Jason Kipnis (right shoulder inflammation) and OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right shoulder sprain) both worked out with the Indians before the game, although both players remain on the disabled list. Both players will return to Double-A Akron on Wednesday to resume their injury rehab assignments. … Before the game, the Indians received their AL championship rings. … Ceremonial first pitches at the Indians’ home opener were thrown by former Cleveland sports greats Jim Brown, Austin Carr and Jim Thome. … White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon is on the disabled list with left biceps bursitis. He is in Arizona to continue a throwing program. He will be re-evaluated during the next homestand, which starts April 21. … RHP Dylan Covey will start Friday for the White Sox against Minnesota. It will be the first major-league start for Covey, who was a Rule 5 selection from Oakland.