CLEVELAND (AP) — Elvis Andrus believes the Guardians will soon crumble. On Thursday, he did what he could to trigger a collapse.
Andrus hit one of Chicago’s five home runs off rookie Hunter Gaddis — and backed up a pregame swipe at the AL Central leaders — as the White Sox cut Cleveland’s division lead to three with an 8-2 victory in a makeup game Thursday.
Andrus connected in the fifth inning off Gaddis (0-2), who became the first Cleveland pitcher to allow five homers in a game since Luis Tiant in 1969. On Wednesday, Andrus raised some eyebrows by telling reporters he expected the first-place Guardians “to crumble, the closer we get.”
The White Sox, who have underperformed this season, inched up with 18 games left.
Andrus was not available following the game so he could get treatment. He and his teammates might have been sore after taking some big cuts against Gaddis.
A loss would have dropped Chicago five games behind Cleveland, which is why interim manager Miguel Cairo was so pleased with his team’s performance after being shut out by Colorado a day earlier.
“It was a big one,” Cairo said. “This is who we are. They had good at-bats, hit a couple homers. They went up there and they were aggressive, so that’s good to see the guys come back from yesterday and put some big numbers up there.”
Gavin Sheets hit a two-run homer in the second to start Chicago’s homer barrage against Gaddis, and Andrew Vaughn, Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal joined Andrus by hitting shots off the right-hander.
Lance Lynn (7-5) limited the Guardians to two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last seven starts. Lynn’s ERA since the All-Star break is 2.14 (16 runs in 67 2/3 innings).
Cleveland had its winning streak stopped at six as it began a run of nine straight games against the White Sox and Minnesota Twins, the club’s two closest pursuers in one of baseball’s only tight division races.
Before the game, Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said he had heard about Andrus’ comment but dismissed it as “outside noise.”
The White Sox made it a little louder for Cleveland.
Sheets and Vaughn connected for consecutive homers in the second off the 24-year-old Gaddis, who was making his second major league start after the Guardians tweaked their rotation.
Gaddis opened the inning by walking Eloy Jiménez and Sheets followed with his 13th homer, a shot into the seats in right that brought a shouting Andrus out of the dugout to high-five teammates along the rail.
Vaughn fouled off two pitches before making it 3-0 with his 16th homer of the season, which again sent Andrus into celebration.
Moncada connected for his 10th homer in the third and Grandal hit No. 5 in the fourth before Andrus, who signed with Chicago on Aug. 19, made it 6-1 with his leadoff homer in the fifth.
“The pitches he really got hurt on, all of them were elevated, caught too much of the plate,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “Guys learn quickly when they’re here some of the mistakes go further and guys don’t leave the zone as much. It’s a learning process.”
After Moncada doubled and scored on José Abreu’s single, Francona pulled Gaddis, who is the third pitcher in team history to give up five homers.
“They just hit the ball well,” Gaddis said. “Some of the pitches I wasn’t even mad about where I put it. They just got the barrel to it, so props to them.”
Tiant gave up five homers on April 18, 1969, in Boston, where he would later pitch for eight seasons. Gary Bell also gave up five homers for Cleveland on April 29, 1962, against Minnesota.
Several Cleveland players along with first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. wore Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 as baseball honored the late Hall of Fame outfielder, who died nearly 50 years ago.
Coincidentally, this was the 21st Roberto Clemente Day, which celebrates both his on-field excellence (15-time All-Star, four-time batting champion) and selflessness in the community. He died in a plane crash on his way to bringing emergency supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.
Guardians: LHP Anthony Gose underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday in Texas. He’ll be sidelined for at least one year while recovering. Gose pitched 21 innings this season for Cleveland before being shut down. … RHP Aaron Civale (elbow) will pitch a rehab assignment Thursday night for Triple-A Columbus. He could be back next week when the Guardians are in Chicago.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.18 ERA), 4-0 in his last seven starts, will start the series opener in Detroit on Friday against RHP Matt Manning (2-2, 3.73).
Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (10-11, 3.05) will start Friday’s opener against the Twins, who have not yet announced their starter.