"We're not surprised at what Alex is doing because we knew he was a real good baseball player when we signed him."
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Cora Finds Big Hole In Sox' Strategy

Alex Cora had a hunch and played it.<br><br> Swinging away in a bunt situation, the infielder helped get the Indians' lethargic offense untracked and Cleveland went on to defeat the Chicago White Sox, 8-6, at Jacobs Field on Thursday night.<br><br> "He did it on his own," said manager Eric Wedge. "His instincts are fantastic.<br><br> "We're not surprised at what Alex is doing because we knew he was a real good baseball player when we signed him."<br>

Cora, signed as a free agent to provide infield depth, got the Indians out of the depths of a slump with a ball that barely got out of the infield.

The Indians needed it. They entered the game with only two extra-base hits in their previous 19 innings, the lowest batting average (.211) and fewest runs (31) in the American League -- and in danger of being swept in the three-game series by the rival White Sox.

They showed signs of emerging from the slumber when Ben Broussard hit a two-run triple in the first inning and Victor Martinez belted his first homer in the fifth.

But Cora's weak squibbler was best of all.

Jhonny Peralta opened the Cleveland sixth with a walk off Orlando Hernandez (1-1). Reliever Neal Cotts came on and promptly threw a wild pitch, sending Peralta to second. He then walked Coco Crisp.

Cora squared to bunt, but fouled off the first pitch he saw. On Cotts' next pitch, with third baseman Joe Crede charging in and shortstop Jose Uribe racing to cover third base, Cora swung away and hit a grounder right where Uribe had been standing.

"I was going to try and bunt again, but saw something and took a chance," said Cora. "It was luck that it went through, but I know how they like to play. They took a gamble and so did I."

Travis Hafner followed with a double off the wall in left for an 8-5 lead.

Chicago scored an unearned run off Arthur Rhodes in the eighth -- when first baseman Broussard was charged with an error for failing to touch the bag after fielding a throw.

Rafael Betancourt (1-0) pitched two innings for the win, allowing only one walk. That is the only batter to reach base all season against the right-hander in 7 2-3 innings overall.

Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his third save.

Carl Everett gave Chicago a 1-0 lead with a first-inning sacrifice fly.

Martinez snapped an 0-for-16 slump with an RBI single in the bottom half and Broussard followed with a drive that carried over the head of Everett, who stumbled into the left-field wall trying to make the catch. Two runs scored before center fielder Aaron Rowand could retrieve the ball and keep Broussard from an inside-the-park homer.

Paul Konerko tied the score at 4 by hitting a three-run homer off Indians starter Scott Elarton in the third.

Willie Harris singled home a run in the fourth to put Chicago ahead 5-4, but Martinez tied it with a line homer to right in the fifth off White Sox starter Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez.

Before the game, Wedge, expressed confidence in the Indians' offense.

"I don't look at it as a slow start," he insisted. "We're a week into a long season. We've got some strong offensive players and I believe in these hitters."

The Indians host three-time AL Central champion Minnesota this weekend before going to Kansas City on Monday for a two-game set to conclude a 14-game stretch of head-to-head play in the division.

MINOR MATTERS
Class A Buffalo lost at Syracuse, 6-3. Jeff Liefer had a two-run homer for the Bisons. Starter Kyle Denney allowed two runs over five innings but reliever Denny Stark lost it by giving up three runs over two innings.

Class AA Akron won at Bowie, 5-2, as Franklin Gutierrez (3-for-4) and Jon Van Every (2-for-5) hit homers. Gutierrez also had three stolen bases. Right-hander Jake Dittler was the winner, allowing five hits and two runs (none earned) over 5 2-3 innings. Todd Pennington got the save.

Kinston got homers from Kevin Kouzmanoff, Brad Snyder, Dave Wallace and Ryan Mulhern in a 9-1 win over Wilmington in Class A. Winner Nick Pesco gave up three hits and one run over three innings.

Chris Gimenez homered in Class A Lake County's 5-1 loss to Lakewood. Argenis Reyes went 2-for-4 for the Captains. Lake County starter Reid Santos allowed seven hits and four runs, but Scott Roehl struck out four in two innings of relief.

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