Finally the Indians gave their pitchers a break with some decent offense, and Jeanmar Gomez and the Tribe took advantage with a 6-2 victory that allows Cleveland to keep pace with the Tigers, who won in extra innings vs. the Royals.
Gomez was stellar in six innings, allowing only one unearned run on six hits to move to 1-2 while lowering his ERA to 4.55. Chad Durbin pitched a scoreless seventh; Rafael Perez took care of the eighth, but got into trouble in the ninth with a leadoff walk followed by a double to put two men in scoring position. Kurt Suzuki was retired on a loud sacrifice fly to cut the Tribe's lead to 6-2 that ended Perez's night.
Vinnie Pestano came on and restored order, striking out Ryan Sweeney for the second out and getting Jemile Weeks to ground out to end it.
As happened on Monday night, Kosuke Fukudome and Carlos Santana provided all of the early runs in the game, and Jack Hannahan got in on the fun in the sixth inning, when Cleveland broke the game open against Trevor Cahill (9-13) and Fautino De Los Santos.
In the Indians' third, with two outs, Fukudome delivered a two-run double for the first runs of the night. Last night it was Fukudome who put the Tribe up 1-0.
And in the sixth, Carlos Santana extended the lead to 4-1 with a two-run bomb. Last night, Santana hit a solo shot that proved to be the winning run in the Tribe's 2-1 win.
Hannahan added his two-run tater later in the sixth, and Cleveland was in a rare place as of late: comfortably ahead.
They would need that cushion as it turned out and as is chronicled above.
The White Sox, who lead the Indians by a half-game, have been playing a back-and-forth game tonight vs. Minnesota, and Chicago led 8-6 in the sixth at the time of writing.
This series will continue on Wednesday night when Ubaldo Jimenez takes on the Athletics' Rich Harden.