CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Hunter Gaddis pitched six strong innings for his first major league win and struggling Cleveland catcher Mike Zunino connected for a two-run homer, sending the Guardians over the Chicago White Sox 3-0 on Monday night.
Gaddis (1-1) was recalled from Triple-A Columbus and gave the Guardians a badly needed quality start after they were swept over the weekend in New York, losing all three to the Mets by one run.
The right-hander gave up just two hits, combining with four relievers on a three-hitter and ending Chicago’s modest three-game winning streak.
Zunino, a free-agent signing who has been a target of criticism because he’s not been hitting, hit his third homer — and first since April 28 — in the seventh off Gregory Santos. The shot to right scored rookie Gabriel Arias, who walked with one out.
Sam Hentges, Nick Sandlin and Trevor Stephan combined for two scoreless innings before Emmanuel Clase worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 21 chances.
The Guardians scored their first run in the second on a wild pitch by Jesse Scholtens (0-2) .
Following a rough weekend in New York, Guardians manager Terry Francona held a team meeting and encouraged players to stay positive and keep grinding. Zunino seemed to take it to heart, delivering his biggest moment with Cleveland.
The Guardians observed a pregame moment of silence for legendary Browns running back Jim Brown, who died last week at the age of 87. Brown played nine seasons in Cleveland and led the NFL in rushing eight times.
Cleveland’s catching platoon has been, well, pitiful.
Zunino came in batting .172 and backup Cam Gallagher .100, but he’s at least played well defensively. For weeks, fans have been clamoring for the Guardians to bring up Bo Naylor from Triple-A Columbus. He was with the club for Sunday’s doubleheader in New York but sent back down.
Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, acknowledged the catching crisis.
“It’s been a tough few weeks,” he said.
The Guardians signed Zunino to a $6 million in the offseason, and that investment could be preventing the team from making any drastic moves.
White Sox: RHP Liam Hendriks (cancer treatment) threw his second bullpen session in four days as he continues to work his way back. Manager Pedro Grifol stood in the batter’s box to observe the shape of Hendriks’ pitches, and was impressed with wat he saw. “His slider was really, really good,” Grifol said. He’s getting really close.” Hendricks, who is in remission for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, will likely throw again Thursday in Detroit.
Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (shoulder strain) is scheduled to make a second rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday. Antonetti said McKenzie will throw four innings or 60-65 pitches. He’s eligible to come off the injured list on May 29. RHP Aaron Civale (oblique strain) is also nearing his return. He’ll start for Columbus on Tuesday.
Guardians rookie LHP Logan Allen (1-1, 3.04) starts against Chicago’s Dylan Cease (2-3, 4.79), who lost to Cleveland last week.