Battled, Beaten, Pale Hose Survive Tribe; White Sox 8, Indians 7
By Mike Brandyberry
You either win or lose most baseball games, but Tuesday evening the Indians may very well have finished third in the contest. The Tribe was beaten by both the Chicago White Sox and the umpires during the contest. The White Sox were able to hold off the Tribe 8-7 in 14 innings, the umpires seemed to control the game more handily.
The Indians did themselves no favors, however. After an out was recorded, Asdrubal Cabrera booted a very routine ground ball by Alejandro de Aza. Paul Konerko followed with a base hit to left, but De Aza was able to take third base when Brantley bobbled the ball. Ubaldo Jimenez was able to work out of the inning, allowing only an unearned run.
Jimenez struggled through five innings, falling behind in the count and having to challenge hitters. Jimenez was not able to complete the fifth inning, allowing five runs on nine hits and one walk. It took 105 pitches to survive four and two-third innings.
The Indians battled back all evening. In the top of the fourth inning, trailing 2-0, Brantley was hit by a pitch before Shin-Soo Choo roped a ball down the right field line. Alexi Ramirez obstructed Brantley’s path to third and Choo had to retreat to first. Despite Manny Acta’s pleas, the umpires did not feel Choo was entitled to second base on the discretionary call.
Once Jimenez left, the Indians again trailed 5-2, but was able to bat around in the sixth inning, tying the game at five. Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana each had two-out base hits up the middle to cut the lead and Jason Donald walked with the bases loaded to tie the game.
Brent Morel answered right back for the White Sox in the bottom of the sixth when he lined a double to right center that Choo took a bad route on. After Juan Pierre sacrificed Morel to third De Aza tripled to the right field corner.
Choo’s throw should have punched De Aza out at third, but he was called safe. Santana argued profusely that the ball was not even fair down the right field line. Laz Diaz behind the plate was none the better, punching the Indians out 11 times. Many were very questionable calls. The White Sox extended their lead again, to 7-5 after six innings.
Hafner hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to cut the lead to only one. Then in the ninth, pinch hitter Ezequiel Carrera walked and moved to third on Brantley’s bloop base hit to centerfield. Choo grounded to Gordon Beckham with one out, but he could not handle the broken bat grounder and could only force out Brantley at second, allowing Carrera to score and tie the game. With two on and two out, Hafner struck out after being called on a very questionable check swing for strike two.
Vinnie Pestano was able to work both the eighth and ninth and send the game to extra innings. The Indians were forced to work out of a jam in the tenth when first base umpire Wally Bell called De Aza safe on his drag bunt. Replays showed another missed call, putting runners on first and second with only one out. Tony Sipp was removed from the game and ejected as he left. Chris Perez was summoned from the bullpen to enduce Konerko into a 6-3 double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eleventh, Alex Rios led off the inning with the White Sox’s fifth triple of the game. The last team to hit five triples in a game was the 1986 Phillies. After Alexei Ramirez grounded out sharply to Jack Hannahan, Perez walked Brent Lillibridge to face Tyler Flowers. Flowers hit a liner to third and Hannahan was able to double off Lillibridge to get the Tribe out of the inning.
The Tribe had a chance to take the lead in the thirteenth, when Matt LaPorta and Hannahan walked and Brantley singled to center to load the bases. Choo struck out and Cabrera grounded weakly to first base and the Indians could not score.
But just like last Tuesday, the marathon would end in the bottom of the fourteenth. With one out, Beckham doubled off the right center field wall and Morel singled on the infield to put runners on first and third. David Huff was summoned from the bullpen to face Pierre, but he promptly singled to left to give the White Sox a 8-7 victory. The loss drops the Indians three games behind the Detroit Tigers and only a half game in front of Chicago.
Wednesday, Fausto Carmona will take the mound for the Tribe, in desperate need of a solid start to keep the Indians ahead of the White Sox in the standings, but also to preserve the bullpen.
Photo: Brian Kersey/Getty Images