Indians sweep pair from White Sox
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians could have used a mop to finish this sweep.
Shelley Duncan's RBI double in the eighth inning gave Cleveland a soggy 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night in the second game of a day-night doubleheader delayed by rain.
Duncan ripped a pitch from left-hander Matt Thornton (1-2) into the left-field corner, scoring Asdrubal Cabrera as the first-place Indians won for the eighth time in 11 games. After leading the AL Central for nearly five months last season before fading, Duncan believes the Indians are better prepared to finish what they've started.
"I don't feel like we're playing over our shoes," he said. "We're more in control. We're a good team."
The Indians won the opener 8-6 behind Zach McAllister, who came up from Triple-A Columbus and an offense that pounded Philip Humber into submission. Also, Nick Hagadone got his first major league save in the opener and Tony Sipp earned the second save of his career in the nightcap, saving manager Manny Acta's bullpen.
"We're playing good baseball," said Acta, whose team got off to a 30-15 start in 2011 before the late-season collapse. "We're playing better baseball at home, and it seems like we're getting the hang of it again."
Meanwhile, the White Sox have lost six of seven and dropped to 2-6 just beyond the halfway point of a 15-game stretch against division opponents.
"It's not fun to go through it," first-year manager Robin Ventura said. "It gets frustrating, but the way guys are grinding you can't fault them for anything. It's just the way it goes."
Cleveland's Josh Tomlin allowed five hits in 7-1 3 innings — most of the final three in a steady downpour. He struck out a career-high eight, allowed two walks and maintained his control despite slick, slippery conditions on the mound.
Joe Smith (2-1) gave up a game-tying single after a lengthy rain delay, but got two outs and was credited with the win after Duncan's single.
Sipp worked the ninth for his first save, getting Tyler Flowers to ground to second with one on for the final out a few pitches after Chicago's catcher hit a long fly ball that nearly left the ballpark."
"Get ahead (in the count), right?," Smith said, poking fun at Sipp, who got his first save since July 23, 2010. "It doesn't matter if it goes 500 feet as long as it goes foul."
Cleveland's Travis Hafner homered and tripled in the opener. He struck out twice in the second game but was hit by a pitch for the 79th time in his career, tying him with Nap Lajoie for the team record.
Cabrera opened the eighth with a bloop single off Thornton, and Carlos Santana followed with a flair to almost the exact spot in shallow right-center. After Hafner popped out, Duncan pulled Thornton's pitch down the line to make it 3-2 and give the few hundred fans who stuck around after a lengthy rain delay something to cheer.
The White Sox tied it 2-all in the eighth, moments after a 1-hour, 25-minute rain delay, on Alex Rios' RBI single.