The Indians' scoring train is back on track after a brief hiatus while Seattle was in town.
Cleveland hitters knocked John Danks out of the game after just four innings, tagging him for eight hits and four runs in a 9-3 win.
With the victory, and a Minnesota loss, Cleveland is 9.5 games back of the White Sox and the Twins in the AL Central.
The Indians still have seven games against the front-runners, four more playing the White Sox, and a set of three against the Twins. A three-game set in Chicago closes out the Indians season.
While a white-hot September by the Indians and a meltdown by both Chicago and Minnesota is the only chance Cleveland has, it’s better than nothing.
Fausto Carmona registered all zeros on the scoreboard until the top of the sixth, giving up all three Chicago runs before yielding to Rafael Betancourt. Betancourt slammed the door on the rally by striking out Jerry Owens for the third out.
Victor Martinez hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the bottom of the second, opening up a 2-0 Indians lead. No, that was not a typo. If anyone would have predicted Martinez first home run of the season would come on Sept. 2, prior to the season starting, they should definitely start playing their hunches in the Ohio Lotto.
The Indians would stretch the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Andy Marte singled with one out, and Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a single as well. After a Grady Sizemore foul-out, Franklin Gutierrez delivered a double to right field, scoring both Marte and Cabrera.
In the top of the sixth, Chicago closed the gap to 4-3. Carmona started the inning with a strikeout of A.J. Pierzynski. After issuing a walk to Jermaine Dye, ex-Indian and pain-in-the-Indians'-rear Jim Thome singled Dye over to third. Carmona threw a wild pitch to Paul Konerko, and the Sox were on the board. Konerko then connected with a single, moving Thome to third. Nick Swisher hit a sac-fly that scored Thome.
The next batter, Alexei Ramirez, was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. The White Sox sent Juan Uribe in as a pinch hitter for Joe Crede, and he delivered with a double to left, scoring Konerko and putting the tying run on third base.
That ended Carmona’s evening, and his win was definitely in jeopardy. That’s when Betancourt pulled a strikeout from his bag of tricks and bestowed it neatly on Owens, preserving a 4-3 lead and Carmona’s eventual victory. Somebody owes somebody a steak.
The Indians weren’t content to sit on the 4-3 lead, breaking out the hitting sticks and the walking shoes for five runs in the bottom of the seventh. Gutierrez opened the inning with a walk, and Francisco was beaned, putting runners on first and second with nary a hit.
Jhonny Peralta added to his RBI total (75) on the year by singling home Gutierrez. That prompted a pitching change by the Sox. Octavio Dotel came on and got the first two outs of the inning, getting Martinez on a popout, and a groundout fielder’s choice by Ryan Garko that erased Peralta at second.
Kelly Shoppach walked, loading the bases. Shin-Soo Choo pinch hit for Marte and drew a free pass, walking home Francisco. Cabrera singled, scoring both Garko and Shoppach. Sizemore singled, scoring Choo and moving Cabrera over to second, making it 9-3 Indians.
The White Sox brought in Mike McDougal. He got the final out of the inning on a Gutierrez fielder’s choice groundout.
Betancourt pitched an inning, registering a hold. Rafael Perez pitched an inning and a third, also getting a hold while surrendering no runs and one hit. Brendan Donnelly pitched a one-hit ninth, finishing out the game.
The Indians ended up with nine runs on 13 hits. Everyone but Choo registered a hit, and he drew a walk in his only at bat. Asdrubal Cabrera led the way with three hits and two RBI, and he also scored a run.
The White Sox managed three runs on seven hits, dropping to 77-61 on the season. They stayed deadlocked with Minnesota for first place, since the Twins lost to Toronto 7-5.
The Indians and White Sox close out the three-game set this afternoon at 12:05. Jeremy Sowers (2-7,5.92 ERA) will face off against Javier Vasquez (10-12, 4.38 ERA).
This is the last meeting for these two in Progressive Field this year. They still have a three-game series in Chicago to close out the season.