CHICAGO (AP) — Dylan Cease insisted simply trying to win and help the Chicago White Sox turn around a season that began with soaring expectations is enough motivation for him.
As for not being selected for his first All-Star Game?
“I’ll take any chip on my shoulder I get,” he said.
Cease threw six innings in his third straight scoreless start, Leury García and AJ Pollock homered, and Chicago beat the Cleveland Guardians 6-3 on Sunday to salvage a four-game split.
Eloy Jiménez went deep in his second straight game, helping the White Sox end a series that was shaping up as a bad one for them on a stronger note.
The reigning AL Central champions rolled into the break by winning three of four at division-leading Minnesota. They hoped this series against the second-place Guardians would help keep pushing them toward the top.
It didn’t quite play out the way they wanted.
They got outscored by a combined 15-6 in losing the first two games, then blew a 3-0 lead in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader. The third-place White Sox regrouped to win that one 5-4. On Sunday, they jumped on Shane Bieber (4-6) and finished a stretch of 19 straight games against division opponents at 10-9.
Chicago scored five in the second on García’s two-run homer and Pollock’s three-run drive. Jiménez made it 6-0 when he connected leading off the sixth.
That was plenty for Cease (10-4), who thought he did enough to earn an All-Star invitation.
“I think statistically, the first half I put up kind of speaks for itself,” he said. “Unfortunately all the other stuff is out of my hands. I think I should have at least been highly, highly considered.”
Cease won his third straight start, though it wasn’t exactly a breeze.