White Sox look for hitting after getting pitching against Indians

CLEVELAND — Before their first home game of the season Tuesday, the Cleveland Indians were presented with their rings for winning the American League pennant last year.

The visiting Chicago White Sox noticed.

“I’m sure they’re very happy receiving them,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. “Unfortunately, we’re on this side watching them do it, but maybe it will be a little motivation.”

The White Sox, playing at sold-out Progressive Field, then went out and took the American League champions to 10 innings before losing 2-1. The teams will meet Wednesday in the second game of the three-game series.

Chicago’s pitching was outstanding Tuesday, giving up one run in the first inning and one run in the last inning and holding Cleveland scoreless on three hits in the eight innings in between.

In the second game of the series, the White Sox will send left-hander Derek Holland (0-1, 3.00 ERA) to the mound against Cleveland right-hander Danny Salazar (0-0, 6.35).

Despite the White Sox’s loss, Renteria was very pleased with the way his team played Tuesday.

“We pitched and defended well, we just didn’t get the timely hit, and they did,” Renteria said.

Through their first six games, four of which have been losses, White Sox hitters have averaged just 3.8 runs per game. Tim Anderson (.192), Melky Cabrera (.217) and Todd Frazier (.143) are the Chicago hitters off to the slowest starts.

Holland will be making his first road start of the season. In his last three starts on the road, he is 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA. However, his last road win came May 30 against the Indians at Progressive Field.

Holland has historically done very well against Cleveland. In two starts against the Indians last year with Texas, he was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA. In his career against the Indians, he is 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA.

Salazar made three starts against the White Sox last year, going 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA. In his career against Chicago, he is 5-2 with a 3.74 ERA.

Cleveland is still trying to get its offense going. In a season-opening three-game sweep of the Rangers in Texas last week, the Indians scored 21 runs. But in four games since then, three losses in Arizona and a 2-1 win over Chicago on Tuesday, the Indians have scored a total of just nine runs. They have scored just two runs in each of their last three games.

The quietest bat so far belongs to their highest paid player, Edwin Encarnacion, who signed the biggest contract the Indians have ever given a free agent, three years and $60 million. In the last five years, Encarnacion has averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs per season. But in seven games this year, Encarnacion is hitting just .185 with one home run and one RBI.

Other Indians struggling at the plate include Tyler Naquin (.235), Carlos Santana (.233), Jose Ramirez (.200) and Yan Gomes (.056).

The only Indians player hitting above .300 is Francisco Lindor, who is batting .308 and has four of the seven home runs the Indians have hit this season, including one in the first inning against the White Sox on Tuesday.