Bieber lowers ERA to 1.63, Indians top White Sox 3-2, close

Luplow walk off blast pulls Tribe to within two games of 1st place

Bieber lowers ERA to 1.63, Indians top White Sox 3-2, close
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (Source: Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Shane Bieber lowered his ERA to 1.63 in his final regular-season start, the lowest in the American League since Luis Tiant’s 1.60 for Cleveland in 1968, and Jordan Luplow hit a game-ending home run that gave the Indians a 3-2 win over Chicago on Wednesday night and dropped the White Sox into a tie with Minnesota for the AL Central lead.

Bieber, who leads the big leagues with eight wins, allowed an unearned run and two hits in five innings with 10 strikeouts in his eighth double-digit strikeout game, also a major league high.

He lowered his major league-leading ERA from 1.74. Chicago’s Dallas Keuchel is second in the AL at 2.04 heading into his start against the Indians in Thursday’s series finale.

Chicago fell to 34-22, the same record as the Twins going into their game against Detroit later Wednesday. Cleveland (32-24) closed within two games of the lead with its second straight last at-bat victory. José Ramírez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th for a 5-3 win Tuesday.

With the score 2-2, Luplow homered onto the porch in left field off Gio González (1-2). A .194 hitter, Luplow struck out in his first three at-bats and followed with his second home run this season.

Brad Hand (2-1) pitched a perfect ninth.

Lucas Giolito gave up two runs and four hits in six innings, throwing a career-high 119 pitches. He has three no-decisions against the Indians this year.

Carlos Santana hit a a 441-foot home run in the second and with 215 homers tied Hall of Famer Larry Doby for sixth place ion the Indians list.

Edwin Encarnación hit an RBI groundout that tied the score in the fourth by bringing home José Abreu, who reached on an error by Ramírez at third.

Cleveland took a 2-1 lead ion Franmil Reyes' sixth-inning sacrifice fly, but Abreu tied the score with a sacrifice fly in the eighth off James Karinchak.

Abreu leads the AL with 57 RBIs but went 0 for 2 and dropped his average to .329. Ramírez also was 0 for 2, stopping his seven-game hitting streak, while Chicago’s Tim Anderson was hitless in four at-bats and is batting .346.

Cleveland rookie Triston McKenzie made his first relief appearance, following Bieber with two scoreless innings.


Indians manager Terry Francona will not return to the dugout during the regular season but is slated to join the team’s postseason bubble. The 61-year-old has missed 42 games because of gastrointestinal surgery and blood-clotting issues.

“It gives Tito an opportunity to be around the team, even if it’s not in the dugout,” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said.


White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected from the first two games of the series and remains angry that Anderson was tossed along with him by umpire Ángel Hernández on Tuesday. “Players in high-level situations have the right to express themselves with high emotion,” Renteria said.


White Sox: RHP Alex Colomé (back spasms) played catch before the game and was cleared to pitch. One night earlier, Colomé worked a perfect ninth but was unable to continue in extra innings when his back tightened.


White Sox: Keuchel (6-2) had a no-decision on Sept. 19 at Cincinnati, throwing four scoreless innings in his return from a stint on the injured list caused by back spasms.

Indians: RHP Zach Plesac (4-2, 1.85 ERA) has not allowed a run in two starts against the White Sox this season, striking out 18 without a walk over 14 innings. Plesac, who will not have enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, will be pitching on five days' rest for the second straight outing.