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Clevinger combines with 3 relievers in a 4-hit game and the White Sox beat the Guardians 3-1

CHICAGO (AP) — Mike Clevinger combined with three relievers in a four-hit game, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Guardians 3-1 on Saturday for their season-high fourth straight victory.

Clevinger allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings in his second major league start of the season. The right-hander, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract with Chicago on April 4, struck out five and walked none.

Then the bullpen took over.

Tim Hill (1-0), Jared Shuster and John Brebbia combined for 4 1/3 hitless innings as the last-place White Sox improved to 9-6 from their 3-22 start. Shuster got six outs before Brebbia took care of the ninth for his first save since June 8, 2018, for St. Louis at Cincinnati.

“These guys never stopped working. They never stopped fighting,” coach Pedro Grifol said. “They’re very, very close there. They play together. Now they expect to win… and that’s the key.”

Clevinger, 33, pitched two-plus innings at Tampa Bay on Monday night. But this time he looked much better.

“I felt more like myself. A little bit better in sync,” he said. “We saw some things (with) the biomechanical report we received that we were able to fix between these two outings.”

Cleveland wasted a great performance by Triston McKenzie (2-3), who pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits. The Guardians lost for the fourth time in five games.

“Just being able to go out there and give the team innings has been on my mind,” McKenzie said, “and I think I did a good job of that tonight.”

Josh Naylor accounted for Cleveland’s only run with a drive to opposite left field with two outs in the fourth. It was his 11th home run of the season.

Clevinger left after Gabriel Arias’ single in the fifth, and Hill struck out pinch-hitter David Fry with a swing for the final out of the inning.

“We’re working a little offensively right now and we have to find a way,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said.

Andrew Benintendi provided an insurance run for the White Sox with a sacrifice fly against Scott Barlow in the eighth.

“The first month and a half has been tough for all of us, but we’re all getting through it together,” infielder Nicky Lopez said, “and you can see we’re enjoying it right now and reaping the benefits.”

Chicago took the lead in the second. Paul DeJong reached for an infield single with one out and scored from first on Lopez’s double into the right field corner. López reached third on an error by right fielder Will Brennan and ran home on Martín Maldonado’s single to left field.

It was Lopez’s first RBI in his 33rd game of the season. Maldonado was hitting just .095 (6 for 63) entering the day.

COACH ROOM

White Sox: INF Danny Mendick (lower back tightness) ran before the game. “He should come out at some point, play some games in the minor leagues and we’ll see how he feels after that,” Grifol said.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Cleveland left-hander Logan Allen (3-2, 6.41 ERA) and Chicago right-hander Michael Soroka (0-4, 6.34 ERA) begin the series finale on Sunday. Allen was tagged for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in a no-decision against Detroit on Tuesday night. Soroka is looking for his first win in his first season with the White Sox.