CHICAGO -- Even after trading many of their big salaries, the Cleveland Indians have remained competitive on the field.
Kelly Shoppach hit a two-run homer and added a solo shot, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.The Indians won despite grounding into six double plays, tying an American League record for the 14th time.Cleveland dealt Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko, but have won 11 of its last 16 games. Before the game, the Indians traded veteran right-hander Carl Pavano to the Twins."You pitch well, you play pretty good defense and you hit and you're going to win games regardless of what names are out there on the field," said Shoppach. "Sometimes when you get guys coming up here and there's no pressure on them, they get an opportunity to get comfortable real quick. If we were at the top of this pennant race and we have a bunch of young guys in the lineup, they're going to feel some pressure to perform."Indians starter Jeremy Sowers (4-7), who came into the game with a 0-6 record with a 6.31 ERA lifetime against Chicago, hung on for the victory. He pitched seven-plus innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He struck out three and walked two. He retired 12 in a row starting in the fourth inning and ending the seventh inning by getting Jayson Nix to fly out."Outstanding outing for Jeremy Sowers. He was aggressive after the hitters. He had a good tempo on the mound and did a nice job," said bench coach Jeff Datz, who was the acting manager as Eric Wedge missed the game to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law.The White Sox dropped their second straight game to fall three games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. Chicago had the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth inning, but failed to score. Indians reliever Chris Perez struck out Jim Thome and got Paul Konerko to pop out. Tony Sipp finished off the inning by getting A.J. Pierzynski to line out.Indians closer Kerry Wood finished the game by getting Gordon Beckham to fly out with runners on second and third.White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (11-6) continued to struggle after his perfect game against the Rays on July 23. Buehrle allowed six runs and 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. He is 0-3 with a 8.35 ERA since his perfect game."I don't know if it is location or no movement. I think everything was kind of flat, missing his spots," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "I don't know if it is fatigue or ... The last three starts is not the guy we always see on the mound."Buehrle induced all six Indians' double plays, becoming the first pitcher since Dick Drag did it in one game in 1972."The six double plays that means you really had bad pitching on the mound. When you make that many double plays that means you have a lot of people on base," Guillen said.Grady Sizemore led off the game with a single, then Asdrubal Cabrera hit a routine grounder that appeared to be the start of a double play, but second baseman Jayson Nix made an errant flip to second that got by shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Sizemore advanced to third, putting runners on first and third with no outs. Buehrle then hit Shin-Soo Choo with a pitch to load the bases. Sizemore ended up scoring on Jhonny Peralta's double play ball and Buehrle limited the damage by getting Travis Hafner to ground out.Buehrle allowed a leadoff single to Jamey Carroll in the second inning, then Shoppach hit Buehrle's next pitch into the seats in right. It was Shoppach's eighth homer of the season."I'm in a little funk right now, giving up a lot of hits," Buehrle said, who added fatigue is not a factor. "They're hitting some good pitches, I'm not making a lot of mistakes. That's why I say this game is luck."Beckham hit an RBI double in the third inning and scored on Thome's single. It was Thome's 1,555 career RBI, tying him for 39th on the all-time list with Willie McCovey.
Wedge is scheduled to rejoin the team on Saturday. Bench coach Jeff Datz served as manager in Wedge's absence. ... Before Saturday's game, White Sox RHP Jake Peavy will throw his third bullpen session since straining his right ankle tendon. Peavy said there still is no plan set for his return, but they should have a better indication after Saturday's session.