CLEVELAND — Mark Reynolds came to Cleveland with the reputation of being a hitter who packed plenty of power.
Through the first 10 games, he’s proving that to be true.
Reynolds’ fifth-inning grand slam keyed Cleveland’s 9-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
“He’s so strong and when he’s swinging the bat like that, it’s so pretty to watch,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Reynolds, who leads the team with five homers and 13 RBIs.
Reynolds also came to town with the reputation of often swinging and missing — he has struck out over 200 times in a season three times in his career, after all. He has fanned eight times in 35 at-bats this season but made enough contact off White Sox ace Chris Sale to turn Cleveland’s 3-2 lead into a comfortable margin.
“I was looking to put the ball in the air,” said Reynolds, who tied a career high with five RBIs. “It wasn’t an easy day to get it out of the park, but it’s never an easy day here, so far.”
Zach McAllister (1-1) pitched into the seventh. The right-hander allowed two unearned runs in the first thanks to Reynolds’ throwing error. McAllister gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings and retired 16 of 17 at one point. He allowed five hits and struck out six.
Reynolds had an RBI single to give Cleveland a 3-2 lead in the third. Nick Swisher and Yan Gomes each hit two-run homers for the Indians.
The loss was Chicago’s fifth straight, all on the road. The White Sox are 0-5 away from home for the first time since 1972.
Sale (1-1) gave up Swisher’s home run in the first and allowed a career-high eight runs in 4 1-3 innings. The left-hander lost to the Indians for the first time in 15 career appearances, including four starts.
“It was a terrible, terrible day,” Sale said. “My team needed a better effort and deserved a better effort. I didn’t give it to them.”
Following Reynolds’ home run, Sale’s next hit pitch hit Michael Brantley in the back — one of three hit batters Saturday — prompting plate umpire Ed Hickox to immediately warn both teams. Sale then threw a pitch in the dirt that nearly hit Mike Aviles in the foot. He was removed after Aviles flied out before Gomes homered to center off Duente Heath for his first hit of the season.
Sale said he didn’t hit Brantley intentionally.
“That was me being an idiot, honestly,” he said. “Going out there and trying to overthrow and blow it by him. It got away and hit him. If you’re going to hit a guy you don’t do it there. I know enough about the game if I was going to do it intentionally it’s not going to be at that time. Not only does that look bad on my part, it looks bad on my team and that’s not what we’re about and that’s not what I’m about.”
McAllister hit Alexei Ramirez on the left arm with one out in the seventh, but was not ejected. The right-hander was then removed by Francona.
“I just stayed aggressive,” McAllister said. “Any time you’re able to get ahead of hitters and throw strikes, you’re going to be successful.”
Reynolds’ errant throw to McAllister on Alex Rios’ groundball in the first scored Chicago’s first run. Paul Konerko’s single made it 2-0.
Swisher hit his first home run with the Indians to tie the game. He doubled with two outs in the third and scored on Reynolds’ single. Swisher was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts against Sale entering the game.
Asdrubal Cabrera led off the fifth with a single and took third when Ryan Raburn doubled. After Swisher was hit in the foot by a pitch, Reynolds hit a 1-1 pitch into the home run porch in left field, giving the Indians a 7-2 lead.
Sale was 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA (eight earned runs in 34 1-3 innings) in 16 career appearances against the Indians entering the game.
The White Sox are the only winless team on the road in the majors.
Swisher has hit in 20 consecutive games at Progressive Field, a streak that began in 2008. He tied Michael Young, who now plays with Philadelphia, for the longest hitting streak in ballpark history. Progressive Field opened in 1994.
Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Bryan Shaw.
The Indians played without second baseman Jason Kipnis (sore left elbow) and catcher Carlos Santana (bruised left thumb). Francona expects Kipins to play Sunday. Santana was in the original lineup, but the thumb bothered him during batting practice.
Konerko leads active players with 46 homers and 172 RBIs against the Indians.