CLEVELAND (AP) — Sandy Alomar Jr. got his first real taste of what it’s been like to manage the Cleveland Indians this season.
Blanked on one hit by rookie Hector Santiago for seven innings, the Indians lost 11-0 on Monday night to the Chicago White Sox, who briefly kept their slim playoff chances alive before finally being eliminated when Detroit beat Kansas City 6-3 and the Tigers clinched their second straight AL Central title.
Alomar dropped to 2-2 as Cleveland’s interim manager. He’ll have his formal interview with the club later this week, when he hopes to land the job permanently.
“When that day comes, I’ll be fine,” Alomar said before Monday’s game. “I’ve done interviews before. It’s not like it’s the first one where you really get anxious. I feel good about myself. I feel good about how I’ve handled interviews in the past. I feel confident. I’m not the one who will make the choice, but I feel confident.”
Alomar is scheduled to interview Thursday and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona has been tentatively scheduled to meet with Indians general manager Chris Antonetti on Friday.
Alomar has had previous interviews with Toronto, Boston and the Cubs. But there’s one job he would like more than any other — with the Indians, the team he helped lead to two World Series appearances.
“It’d be great. It’d be awesome,” said Alomar, who took over when Manny Acta was fired last week with six games left. “I played here many years. I’m very proud of this organization. They have treated me great. They brought me back. If it’s the time, it’s their choice. If it’s the time, it’s time. if not, there will be some other time.”
The Indians were shut out for the 11th time. They couldn’t do anything against Santiago (4-1), who struck out 10 and did not allow a runner to reach second base.
“That guy was nasty,” Alomar said. “He had a great screwball and we didn’t put great at-bats together against him.”
With just their third win in 13 games, the second-place White Sox left the field with some hope, but not much. About an hour after the game, Chicago, which stumbled down the stretch after being in first place for 63 straight days, saw its chances vanish when the Tigers won in Kansas City.
“It’s always frustrating, but I told everyone we should walk out of here with our heads held high,” White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “Nobody thought we would do anything this year, but to be in it until October 1st and have a chance, we did everything we could. We don’t have to look back and say we could have done this or we could have done that because at the end of the day, we gave everything we could and did everything we could possibly do.
“We were in the position we wanted to be in and it just didn’t work out.”
The White Sox scored four runs in the sixth off Corey Kluber (2-5), and added six in the ninth — four on Dayan Viciedo’s first career grand slam to make it 11-0.
After lining up and slapping high-fives in the infield, the White Sox headed to their clubhouse aware the Tigers were already leading the Royals by four runs.
There was nothing more Chicago could do. It was out of the White Sox’s hands, and they ate their postgame dinners and watched helplessly on TVs in the clubhouse — several were tuned to the Chicago Bears’ Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys — as the Tigers wrapped up the division.
A season of promise under first-year manager Robin Ventura had crumbled completely.
“You end up where you’re supposed to end up,” Ventura said. “The effort was there. We just came up short.”
Santiago and Kluber were locked in a scoreless duel until the sixth, when the White Sox scored four runs on five hits — four coming with two outs.
Dewayne Wise bunted safely with one out, and stole second with two outs before Adam Dunn snapped an 0-for-18 slump by lining a base hit to center. Kluber then walked Paul Konerko before Alex Rios ripped an RBI double off the wall in left, scoring Dunn to make it 2-0 and forcing a pitching change.
Pierzynski followed with a grounder up the middle off reliever Joe Smith that went off diving second baseman Jason Kipnis’ glove and into center field as Konerko scored. Viciedo’s single then scored Rios to give the White Sox a 4-0 lead and chance to breathe a little easier.
Santiago was never threatened by the Indians, who managed just three baserunners off the left-hander who won for the first time in five starts.
Dunn added an RBI single in the ninth to make it 6-0.
The White Sox didn’t seem to be feeling any pressure before the game. Players sat in front of their lockers, tapping away at the screens of their iPads or watching TV as if it was June 1 and not Oct. 1 with their season hanging by a thread.
Chicago’s players, who had spent 117 total days in first place, seemed resigned to their fate.
“It’s a huge disappointment,” said starter Jake Peavy, who is scheduled to pitch Tuesday. “We feel like we let one slip away. It’s extremely frustrating the way things have played out.” NOTES: Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera stayed in the game until the ninth after he was hit in the hands in the fourth inning by Santiago. Alomar hinted that Cabrera’s season could be over. Cabrera had ice on both hands after the game. … Indians OF Michael Brantley started for the first time since Sept. 24. He’s been slowed by a groin strain. …. The Indians struck out 12 times.