- Recap via SB Nation *
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Juan Pierre ended a five-hour, 21-minute battle with an RBI single in the 14th inning, sending the White Sox over the Indians, 8-7, in the opener of an important three-game series between the AL Central foes.
Pierre had three of Chicago’s 22 hits, none bigger than his opposite-field knock to left field off David Huff in the 14th. Gordon Beckham scored on the hit after reaching on a one-out double off Chad Durbin (2-2).
The White Sox’s third straight win puts them over the .500 mark (61-60) for the first time since April 15. They are 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers and a half-game behind the Tribe.
Paul Konerko and Brent Morel each had four hits in the win, which was credited to Jason Frasor (3-2) for tossing a perfect 14th.
“We battled and fought. It was fun to watch and very stressful. But when you win games like this, you wake up in the morning feeling a lot better as a team,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
White Sox closer Sergio Santos blew a chance to end the game in the ninth. Trailing 7-6 with a runner on second, Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo hit a weak grounder to second that Beckham had glance off the tip of his glove, allowing the tying run to come in.
Though the White Sox failed to score with runners in scoring position from the ninth to the 13th innings, they caught a break when Jesse Crain worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 13th.
“It was a long game,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “Both teams had opportunities to win the ballgame at certain points and neither one could do it until the last inning.”
Chicago took an early lead in the first when Alejandro De Aza reached base with one out on Asdrubal Cabrera’s fielding error and came around to score on Carlos Quentin’s single.
Beckham led off the home half of the second with a walk and scored on De Aza’s triple into the gap in right-center to increase the White Sox’s lead.
Cleveland made it a one-run game in the fourth on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly, but Chicago got that run back in the bottom half on Pierre’s second homer of the year.
Carlos Santana manufactured a run in the away fifth when he led off with a bunt single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a Kosuke Fukudome groundout and scored on Jason Donald’s sacrifice fly to right.
Chicago answered again in their next at-bat. Konerko led off with a double to left and was followed two batters later by a triple off the wall in right- center field by Alexei Ramirez. Tyler Flowers later doubled in Ramirez to give the White Sox their biggest lead of the night.
The Indians fought back to knot the game with a three-run sixth, as Travis Hafner and Santana each singled in a run and Jason Donald worked a bases- loaded walk to force in another.
The tie was short lived, however, as De Aza added his second RBI triple of the contest on a grounder down the first-base line. De Aza was able to cross the plate on a Konerko base hit to put Chicago ahead, 7-5.
Hafner launched a leadoff home run into the seats in right field off of Chris Sale in the eighth, getting the Tribe within a run.
The White Sox, who stranded 16 runners, hit five triples…Chicago placed catcher A.J. Pierzynski on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of catcher Donny Lucy from Triple-A Charlotte Tuesday…Konerko increased his hit streak to 12 games…Chicago starter Gavin Floyd lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and a walk while fanning nine…Ubaldo Jimenez made his third start for Cleveland and allowed five runs — four earned — on nine hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings…The White Sox lead the season series, 7-1.