Indians Fall Again To White Sox, 7-1

Jhonny Peralta can't reach a White Sox single.

Once again, the Chicago White Sox did practically everything right and the Indians did a lot of things wrong. The result was Cleveland's seventh loss in eight games, this time 7-1 to a Chicago team that got seven hits from little-used reserves Pablo Ozuna and Chris Widger.

Chicago improved to 8-3 this season against Cleveland, which fell 13 games behind the first-place White Sox in the AL Central Division.

C.C. Sabathia (6-6) had a nightmarish first inning despite quickly retiring the first two batters. He ended up making 44 pitches in the inning -- giving up four runs, three walks, two hits, making one very costly wild pitch and hearing plenty of boos.

"It sucks when the home fans start booing so quickly, but it is what it is," said Sabathia, who struck out a season-high nine over five innings. "It's baseball. It's life."

Manager Eric Wedge stuck up for the big left-hander, saying that Sabathia showed poise in working through the exasperating inning. "When you talk effort-wise, it's the best he's been this year," Wedge said. "Obviously, things weren't going his way, but he regrouped and kept going."

So did White Sox right-hander Freddy Garcia (9-3), who gave up one run and six hits over seven innings.

Cleveland scored in the second inning. Ronnie Belliard hit a leadoff double, Ben Broussard walked and Jhonny Peralta followed with a broken-bat RBI single. Aaron Boone promptly hit into a double play to thwart the chance of a bigger inning.

The White Sox, however, capitalized on lesser opportunities. They ran their way to two runs in the sixth. With runners on first and third, Ozuna (4-for-5) stole second and when catcher Victor Martinez threw wildly, went to third as one run scored. Taduhito Iguchi then put down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Ozuna.

They scored four two-out runs in the first. Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko drew walks. Carl Everett then struck out for the apparent third out of the inning, but the pitch was a curveball in the dirt that got past Martinez for wild pitch. Everett hustled his way to first to load the bases.

Jermaine Dye walked on a 3-2 pitch to force home Thomas. Aaron Rowand then lined a 3-2 pitch for a two-run single and Widger (3-for-4) followed with an RBI single before Sabathia finally struck out Juan Uribe for the fourth out.

Before the game, Indians right-hander Rafael Betancourt said that he will continue to appeal his 10-game suspension for violating baseball's substance-abuse policy. He apologized again to teammates and fans, but insisted that he wants the word "steroids" removed from the official report because he believes his test was positive for an ingredient in a painkiller he bought over the counter in his native Venezuela.

Also before the game, Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said that he believes Cleveland has the players to contend for a wild-card playoff berth, but he would like to add a player in a trade. Shapiro said he did not expect that to happen soon because so many other teams are in the same situation.

MINOR MATTERS

CLASS AAA BUFFALO (53-40)
lost at Toledo, 4-2 -- their eighth loss in 12 games in July. Joe Inglett (.339) and Ramon Vazquez (.222) each had two of the Bisons' seven hits. Starter and loser Billy Traber (3-5, 4.85 ERA) gave up four runs (three earned) over 5 1/3 innings.

CLASS AA AKRON (50-41) got 12 hits in an 8-1 victory at Portland. Javier Cardona (.274) went 3-for-3 with his third homer, a solo shot, and three RBI to lead the Aeros. Jonathan Van Every (.245) also hit a solo homer, his 16th, and went 2-for-3 while Pat Osborn (.285) also had two hits. Rafael Perez (2-1, 0.89 ERA) gave up one run over seven innings to improve to 10-6 this season including his time at Class A Kinston. Travis Foley (4.08 ERA) and Victor Kleine (3.54 ERA) each worked one hitless inning.

CLASS A KINSTON (8-12) won at Salem, 5-3, as Chris De La Cruz (.241) went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a stolen base and David Wallace (.168) had a pair of doubles. Tony Sipp (5-2, 2.63 ERA) gave up one run over five innings to improve to 1-1 since being promoted from Lake County. Jim Ed Warden (3.52 ERA) pitched two scoreless innings and Matt Davis (5.44 ERA) worked one scoreless before Todd Pennington (4.32 ERA) allowed two ninth-inning runs.

CLASS A LAKE COUNTY (10-10) won at Hagerstown, 7-2, as Brian Finegan (.294) went 4-for-4 with a stolen base and Matt Whitney (.210) was 3-for-5. Chuck Lofgren (2-1, 2.36 ERA) gave up two runs over five innings. Adrian Schau (two innings, three strikeouts), Kyle Collins (one inning, one strikeout) and Kieran Mattison (one inning, two strikeouts) combined to pitch four perfect innings of relief.

CLASS A MAHONING VALLEY (12-12) split a doubleheader at Tri-City, losing the first game 4-3 in extra innings and rolling to an 11-4 victory in the nightcap. Trevor Mortensen (.320) went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, his first, as the Scrappers got only three hits in the first game. Jensen Lewis (0.90 ERA) gave up two runs in six innings -- the first earned runs he has allowed in 20 innings over four starts as a professional. Justin Pekarek (2-1, 2.45 ERA) gave up two runs (one earned) to lose it. He faced three batters in the eighth inning (minor-league doubleheaders are scheduled for seven innings only) and yielded the losing run.

In the second game, Evandy DeLeon went 2-for-2 with a three-run homer in his first game since being promoted from Burlington. Matt Fonasiere (.294) had two hits, including his first homer, a two-run shot, while Jose Constanza (.250), Derrick Peterson (.250) and Chris Clem (.274) also had two hits apiece. Jim Deters (1-1, 1.50 ERA) got his first pro win, allowing two runs over five innings. Matt Loberg (4.32 ERA) pitched one perfect inning for his first pro save.

ROOKIE LEAGUE BURLINGTON (10-14) swept a doubleheader from visiting Danville, 5-1 and 2-1 to make it six wins in a row. Julio Garcia (.286) singled home the winning run in the bottom of the eighth of the second game as Burlington got only three hits. Albert Vargas (1-0, 0.93) struck out four over two perfect innings of relief for the win. Starter Adam Hanson (4.94 ERA) gave up one run over six innings.

Burlington got only four hits in the first game, but one was a bases-loaded triple by Jason Denham (.203). Gerson Mercedes (1-1, 3.21 ERA) struck out three over three scoreless innings for the win. Starter Carlton Smith (4.40 ERA) struck out four without a walk, but gave up one run and four hits over four innings.

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