After the sloppy mess of a game that the Indians played against the Mariners on Monday, an actual well-played ballgame broke out at Progressive Field in the day portion of a split doubleheader.
Behind three homers, a quality start from Fausto Carmona and three perfect innings from the bullpen, the Tribe knocked off the White Sox 4-3 to momentarily move back to .500, at the same time extending their lead over Chicago for second place to 2.5 games.
Travis Hafner belted a two-run drive to right in the first inning with two outs — the Indians’ first homer off of Chicago starter Gavin Floyd (12-12) all season — scoring Jason Kipnis.
The White Sox evened the score in the second when Adam Dunn doubled with nobody out, scoring A.J. Pierzynski. Alejandro De Aza followed with a single, plating Alex Rios and making it 2-2, still with nobody out and runners at the corners.
But Carmona got Brent Morel to fly out to right, and Kosuke Fukudome caught De Aza trying to get back to first for an unconventional double play. Gordon Beckham then grounded out, and the damage had been nicely minimized.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo homer to right which barely made it over the yellow stripe before bouncing into the stands leading off the fourth, making it 3-2 Indians.
Cabrera’s homer was his 24th of the season and tied Asdrubal for the Tribe’s all-time record for taters by a shortstop with Jhonny Peralta.
The next inning, with two outs, Fukudome hit his seventh blast of the year, also to right field but a no-doubter, and Cleveland led 4-2.
Carmona (7-15) gave a run back on De Aza’s RBI ground out in the sixth, but left having allowed seven hits and three runs, with two walks and three Ks, and after the bullpen heroics, had earned his first victory since beating the White Sox on August 17.
Joe Smith worked a perfect seventh, Vinnie Pestano did the same in the eighth, with two strikeouts, and Chris Perez worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout to earn his 35th save.
The second game of this day/night affair will start this evening at 7:05 when Zach McAllister faces Dylan Axelrod.