After playing 14 innings in an 8-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night - a game that went well into Wednesday morning - the Cleveland Indians needed Fausto Carmona to not only win them a ballgame, he needed to pitch deep into the game to give Cleveland's tiring bullpen a break.
Carmona delivered both in dominating fashion.
Keeping a tough-hitting White Sox lineup off balance all night, Carmona pitched 8.1 innings and beat Mark Buehrle and the White Sox 4-1. On Tuesday night, the White Sox pounded Indians pitching for 22 hits. It was a different story less than 24 hours later, with Carmona holding the Sox to just 4 hits and 1 run, a solo home run for Alexei Ramirez in the 2nd inning.
Carmona walked 3 and struck out 6 while throwing 118 pitches. He left with one out in the ninth inning, giving way to Chris Perez to finish out the game. Carmona improved to 6-12 on the year, but he has pitched much better than his record may indicate since coming off the disabled list.
Mark Buehrle pitched well in a losing effort, giving up all four Indians runs on 12 hits in 7.1 innings. Buehrle walked 2 and struck out 3 in falling to 10-6 on the season. The Indians put together 10 singles and two doubles against Buehrle, who was deadlocked in a 1-1 tie with Carmona until the sixth inning.
The Indians got to Buehrle for a single run in the sixth on a Kosuke Fukudome single that scored Carlos Santana, then added two insurance runs in the seventh inning on a RBI-single by Shin-Soo Choo and a sac-fly by Asdrubal Cabrera.
The four runs was more than enough for Carmona, who allowed the home run to Ramirez and a double to Alejandro De Aza around singles by De Aza and Adam Dunn.
The Indians win, coupled with Detroit's 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins means the Indians are just 2 games back in the American League Central. The Tribe will wrap-up their three-game series with the White Sox tomorrow night with Justin Masterson looking for his tenth win against Philip Humber.
Here's a look at the up-to-the-minute AL Central standings: