The White Sox appeared on their way to an easy — if ugly — win. But Sox closer Bobby Jenks, who has been overworked with relievers J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton out with injuries, couldn’t finish off the Indians.
Jenks walked Shin-Soo Choo leading off, and after the White Sox allowed him to take second, Shelley Duncan blooped a RBI single to left to bring Cleveland within two. Travis Hafner followed with his third double — and fourth hit — that brought manager Ozzie Guillen out to the mound.
Guillen stuck with Jenks, who got Luis Valbuena to hit a high chopper to Lillibridge. He fielded it but rushed his throw as two runs scored.
“It’s not Bobby’s fault,” Guillen said. “His teammates have to pick him up. That’s an ugly game — win or lose. I felt like I was in Tucson [at spring training]. It was a bad game. Thank God we won it.”
Jayson Nix homered for the last-place Indians, who have dropped 11 of 16 and stranded 16.
“We made a good comeback against their closer, but we couldn’t finish the deal,” manager Manny Acta said.
With the score tied with two outs in the 11th inning, Brent Lillibridge atoned for his costly error by hitting a solo home run that opened the flood gates on a 4-run Sox assault.
Game 2 of the series is Tuesday night with former Indians slugger Manny Ramirez expected to be with the White Sox.