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Chicago Is Creeping Close To The Indians; A Cleveland Win Saturday Would Stall That

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(Sports Network) – With the Detroit Tigers heating up, the Cleveland Indians have picked the wrong time to fall into a three-game losing streak. Now 1 1/2 games behind the Tigers for first place in the American League Central, the Tribe try to get back on the horse as it takes on the Chicago White Sox in the second of a three-game set at Progressive Field.

As the only team in the division on the plus side when it comes to run differential (plus-5) heading into the weekend, one would figure that the Indians would be at or near the top of the standings and that remains the case even though the squad was shut out last night, 3-0.

Cleveland finished with a total of only five hits, two of those coming from Lonnie Chisenhall who registered the lone extra-base hit for the club with a double. Batting in front of Chisenhall in the lineup, Matt LaPorta didn’t help matters with his three strikeouts in four at-bats.

Starter Carlos Carrasco was saddled with his eighth loss of the season as he allowed all three runs on six hits, walking four and striking out six over the course of 6 1/3 innings.

Chicago’s Gavin Floyd was awarded the win, his eighth, as he held Cleveland scoreless through 7 2/3 innings, permitting just four hits and fanning five on 99 pitches.

Carlos Quentin accounted for all of the offense for the White Sox as he belted his 20th home run of the season, a three-run shot, in the fifth inning. Quentin accounted for three of the club’s eight hits, while Adam Dunn tallied two hits but is still struggling with a woeful .163 batting average with his new club.

“I gave my team a chance to win today, so that’s all I could ask for out of myself,” said Quentin. “You know, the story is Gavin. He did unbelievable.”

Heading back out to the mound for the Indians tonight is David Huff, following up his season debut earlier in the week against the Twins when he threw seven scoreless innings. Now in his third major league campaign, the lefty is actually 2-0 in his career versus Chicago, despite sporting a lofty 8.04 ERA in three previous appearances.

As for the White Sox, they’ll be turning to Edwin Jackson in hopes that he can even his personal record on the season with another victory. The right-hander, who is four games under .500 (54-58) for his career thus far, last pitched a week ago when he threw a shutout against Detroit on the road. During the 9-0 victory for Chicago, Jackson scattered nine hits and a pair of walks, striking out just two as he dropped his season ERA below 4.00.

Already 1-0 this season against the Tribe, Jackson has a sterling 8-1 mark, to go along with a 2.70 ERA, in 12 career appearances against Cleveland.

Travis Hafner, who played in the 1,000th game of his major league career on Friday, had been riding a minor four-game hitting streak for the Indians before going hitless in four appearances. Nevertheless, he is still hitting .314 on the season, despite playing in just 59 of the team’s games, an average which is considerably better than his lifetime mark of .283.

Over on the other side of the ledger, Paul Konerko continues to lead the White Sox in home runs with 22, but he’s gone deep just once in the month of July and has just that lone long ball since June 21 when he ended a stretch of five straight games with a home run. He is batting just .254 this month and has only eight RBI to show for his efforts.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.