Another night, another loss. In what seems to be a theme, the Indians went into the eighth tied 1-1. They came out of the ninth down 3-1.
In the tale of two teams going in opposite directions, the White Sox won their eighth in a row, sending the Indians to their sixth straight loss and put them on the short end of the stick in two series sweeps.
Aaron Laffey went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. The Cleveland offense hit into multiple double plays, shooting themselves in the offensive foot instead of providing support for Laffey.
The offense never really got revving against Mark Buehrle, and tonight was no exception. Prior to the contest even starting, the average fan knew that if the Indians didn’t stay close, this one would be over early.
They did stay close though. 28,000 fans went out on a weekday evening to watch first-place Chicago continue to stymie the Cleveland offense.
The White Sox broke out on top, scoring one in the bottom of the first on a single by Cabrera, a double by Ramirez, and a groundout by Quentin, scoring Cabrera. Quentin was a thorn in the side of the Indians all series.
Cleveland got back into the game in the top of the third. With one out, Buehrle suddenly lost command of his pitches, and gave up successive walks to Asdrubal Cabrera and Franklin Gutierrez. Grady Sizemore cashed in on the free passes, hitting a double and plating Cabrera.
With runners on second and third, the Indians lapsed back into the equivalent of the cowardly lion. Francisco lined out, and Hafner flied out. One run, two stranded. Cue up this season's theme song.
Victor Martinez left in the fourth with a cut on his left finger, not allowing him the ability to grip the bat. Martinez, one of the lone, bright spots in the black hole called the Cleveland offense, just about assured the Tribe of a loss.
Laffey did a heck of a job, going toe-to-toe with Buehrle. Buehrle was relieved in the top of the eighth, assuring himself of a no-decision after 104 pitches of two-hit ball. Laffey remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth.
After a one, two, three, seventh, he could not record an out in the eighth, allowing a single to Hall before yielding to reliever Masa Kobayashi. Kobayashi struck out Cabrera, and got pinch hitter A.J. Pierzynski to flyout, but it moved pinch runner Anderson to second.
Then along came Quentin. He singled to left, scoring Anderson, and took second as the Indians went for the play at home. Jermaine Dye, the other Indian slayer, singled Quentin home, giving the White Sox a 3-1 lead.
The top of the ninth saw the Cleveland offense flyout, strike out, and flyout successively at the hand of closer Bobby Jenks. The six-game road trip came to a merciful end, with the Indians winning none.
They return home Friday to take on Texas. Carmona takes on Gabbard. Game time is 7:05. Kason Gabbard, a lefty, sports a 3.12 ERA. Fausto Carmona is pitching well with a 2.25 ERA. The Indians could really use a good effort to break out of their slump.