CHICAGO (AP) — Tim Anderson delivered a tiebreaking single, José Abreu was hit in the head by a pitch with the bases loaded and the Chicago White Sox rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to top the Cleveland Indians 6-4 on Friday night after acquiring All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel from the crosstown Cubs.
Anderson’s hit to right field put Chicago ahead 5-4, then Indians reliever James Karinchak (7-3) plunked Abreu in the helmet with a 96 mph fastball to force in another run. Both benches and bullpens emptied briefly, but no punches were thrown and the reigning AL MVP stayed in the game.
“They were up and in all night brushing guys off the plate,” Anderson said. “That’s one of our big guys. But you know, he’s OK and we got the win and that’s the big thing.”
The brief brouhaha started when White Sox manager Tony La Russa rushed out of the dugout and toward Indians catcher Roberto Perez after Abreu was struck for the second time in the game. The 76-year-old La Russa pressed Perez on the chest protector and the two started jawing.
“The point was that the guy didn't have command," La Russa said. “When a guy lacks command, it's very scary. I know it wasn't intentional."
Karinchak went over to Abreu along the first base line and the two greeted each other warmly, making it clear there were no hard feelings.
Perez acknowledged the Indians were trying to go high and tight on Abreu, but said Karinchak's pitch just got away.
“That's where we pitch him pretty much every time,” Perez said. “He's a good hitter, but we don't want to hit anyone there.”
Yoán Moncada had a bizarre and fortunate solo homer among his three hits as the AL Central leaders moved nine games ahead of second-place Cleveland despite winning for just the third time in nine tries.
Franmil Reyes had three RBIs on three hits for the Indians, including a solo homer off newly acquired reliever Ryan Tepera in the top of the eighth that tied it at 4.
Kimbrel, dealt to the South Side just before Friday’s trade deadline, should give the White Sox a fearsome bullpen for their playoff push. Chicago already had one of baseball’s best closers in All-Star Liam Hendriks and added Tepera from the Cubs on Thursday.
Hendriks pitched a perfect ninth for his 26th save.
Tepera failed to get an out in his White Sox debut. Reyes greeted the right-hander in the eighth with his 20th homer on a 1-1 slider. Harold Ramirez singled and Oscar Mercado walked before Jose Ruiz (1-1) entered and got three outs to end the threat.
Chicago starter Lance Lynn labored through five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits while throwing 104 pitches. He struck out seven and walked one.
Moncada homered on what should have been a deep flyout in the second. Center fielder Bradley Zimmer appeared to make the catch at the wall, but right fielder Daniel Johnson collided with him, forcing the ball to pop up and roll over the fence.
“I found out that D.J. didn't hear Zimmer,” interim Indians manager DeMarlo Hale said. “I was surprised when the ball went over the wall. It was one of those freak things.”
Brian Goodwin, Leury Garcia and Andrew Vaughn also had RBIs for Chicago.
César Hernández started at second base in his White Sox debut after being acquired in a trade from Cleveland on Thursday and went 2 for 5. It was the first of four deals in about 24 hours by the injury-ravaged Indians.
Jose Ramírez had an RBI for Cleveland. J.C. Mejia allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Cleveland played its first game under Hale, the team’s bench coach. Terry Francona stepped down Thursday for the remainder of the season due to health reasons.
The 62-year-old Francona entered the hospital Friday and will undergo left hip replacement surgery next week. He had been wearing a boot on his right foot all season after undergoing toe surgery for a staph infection in February.
The White Sox sent 2B Nick Madrigal, a budding star who is out for the season with a torn right hamstring, to the Cubs along with RHP Codi Heuer. The White Sox had addressed the loss of Madrigal by acquiring Hernandez.
“We knew that in the end we were going to have to make a very strong offer to get a player like Craig Kimbrel,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “We made a conscious decision to prioritize today over the distant future.”
The 33-year-old Kimbrel had a 0.49 ERA and 23 saves in 25 opportunities for the Cubs this season and led NL relievers in strikeout rate and opponents’ batting average.
The Indians made three deals Friday ahead of the trade deadline.
Cleveland sent OF Eddie Rosario to Atlanta for veteran INF Pablo Sandoval, then released the 2012 World Series MVP.
Rosario has been on the injured list since July 6 with an oblique strain, and isn’t quite ready to return. He signed a one-year, $8 million free agent contract last winter with Cleveland. The Braves will pay a portion of the contract, easing the financial burden on the Indians.
Cleveland acquired speedy CF Myles Straw from Houston for RHP Phil Maton and minor league catcher Yainer Diaz.
The Indians also sent injured OF Jordan Luplow and right-hander DJ Johnson to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league RHP Peyton Battenfield.
White Sox: LF Eloy Jimenez (groin tightness) remained out and day-to-day after leaving Wednesday’s game in Kansas City. The slugger had just returned Monday from a pectoral tear that had kept him out all season.
Indians RHP Triston McKenzie (1-4, 5.61 ERA) faces White Sox LHP Dallas Keuchel (7-4, 4.32) on Saturday night.
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