<
>

Hafner's two-run double helps Indians avoid sweep

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Alex Cora's tiebreaking single barely reached
the outfield -- but it gave the Cleveland Indians a needed jolt.

Cora grounded a ball through a hole in the Chicago infield and
Travis Hafner followed with a two-run double to help the Indians
beat the White Sox 8-6 Thursday night.

"That was savvy baseball by a real professional," said Indians
third baseman Aaron Boone of Cora's strategy-foiling hit. "We
needed a run and what he did is just the kind of thing to give the
whole team a burst of energy. It was big lift. You could feel it."

Victor Martinez hit his first homer of the season and drove in
two, and Hafner and Ben Broussard also had two RBI apiece as the
Indians pounded out 10 hits to avoid a three-game sweep. They came
in with the lowest batting average (.211) and fewest runs (31) in
the American League.

White Sox left fielder Carl Everett left in the first inning
with a bruised left shoulder after running into the left-field wall
trying to catch Broussard's two-run triple.

"I think he's OK," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Hopefully
he'll be ready tomorrow."

Rafael Betancourt (1-0) pitched two innings for his first win
since Aug. 5 at Toronto. Arthur Rhodes gave up an unearned run in
the eighth and Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his third save.

Cora's simple grounder snapped a 5-all tie in the sixth.

Jhonny Peralta drew a walk off Orlando Hernandez (1-1) to open
the inning. Reliever Neal Cotts then threw a wild pitch, sending
Peralta to second before walking Coco Crisp.

Cora fouled off a bunt attempt. On Cotts' next pitch, with third
baseman Joe Crede charging in and shortstop Jose Uribe moving to
cover third base, Cora swung away and grounded the ball through the
hole at shortstop.

"He did that on his own," said Indians manager Eric Wedge.
"He recognized the play and was aggressive. His instincts are
fantastic."

Cora said he intended to try and bunt the second pitch, too,
then changed his mind when he saw the infielders move.

"I took a chance," he admitted. "It was luck that it went
through. I know how they like to play. They took a gamble and so
did I."

Guillen credited Cora for winning the game.

"He had a tremendous game, making a couple of big defensive
plays, too," he said. "Alex Cora beat us."

Hafner followed with a double off the wall in left for an 8-5
lead.

Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer, his fourth, to tie the score
at 4 in the third after Indians starter Scott Elarton issued two
walks.

"I don't mind giving up the homer so much, but the two free
passes were the problem," said Elarton.

Willie Harris' RBI single in the fourth put Chicago ahead 5-4,
but Martinez tied it with a line shot homer to right in the fifth.

"That was good for Victor and great for us," said Wedge. "He
put a good swing on that ball."

Broussard's two-run triple keyed a four-run first that put
Cleveland ahead 4-1.

Martinez snapped an 0-for-16 slump with an RBI single and
Broussard followed with a drive that carried over the head of
Everett, who stumbled into the wall trying to make the catch. Two
runs scored before center fielder Aaron Rowand could retrieve the
ball and keep Broussard from an inside-the-park homer.

Team trainer Herm Schneider attended to Everett for several
minutes before Guillen sent Timo Perez into the game as a
replacement. Everett slowly walked off the field by himself.

Everett's sacrifice fly put Chicago ahead 1-0 in the first.

Hernandez gave up five runs and eight hits over five-plus
innings. The right-hander struck out one and walked four.

Elarton allowed five runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings. He
walked two and struck out four.

Game notes
Chicago OF Scott Podsednik missed his second game with a
strained right groin. ... Betancourt retired the first 18 batters
he faced this season before walking Uribe in the sixth. He then
retired the next five men he faced. ... Hernandez is 4-1 with a
2.25 ERA in seven April starts since 2002. ... Rowand went 3-for-5
and is 4-for-7 after an 0-for-9 streak.