This time, the closer delivered.
Wickman gave up a hit and a sacrifice fly but recorded the final
two outs as the Cleveland Indians survived a six-run ninth inning
by the Chicago White Sox to hang on for a 10-8 victory and avoid a
three-game sweep on Sunday night.
"If I do my job (Saturday), we take two out of three games,"
Wickman said. "The guys came back and battled tonight, beat a good
pitcher. It was great the way they battled back. ... We had to come
out and win tonight."
For eight innings, this looked like an easy win.
Victor Martinez and Ronnie Belliard hit two-run homers, Travis
Hafner and Jason Michaels added solo shots. The four home runs tied
a season high for Cleveland, which snapped a three-game losing
That was plenty for Jake Westbrook (6-3), who allowed two runs
in eight innings and improved to 3-0 against the White Sox. He gave
up six hits and struck out four.
Martinez and Belliard went deep in the fifth to extend the
Indians' lead to 7-2, and Hafner knocked out White Sox starter
Freddy Garcia (7-4) with a solo shot in the sixth. Michaels added a
homer off Sean Tracy in the eighth.
Things got tense in the ninth when Brian Anderson hit a
three-run homer off reliever Jason Davis, who faced five batters
and did not record an out. Rafael Betancourt got an out before
giving up an RBI single to Ross Gload that made it 10-6.
"I apologize to (Betancourt) for giving up his runs, but at
that point it's just trying not to let the tying runs score and
just get two outs," Wickman said.
The save came a day after Wickman had a heated exchange with
pitcher Paul Byrd in the clubhouse.
This time, there was about a 20-minute meeting following the
game. Manager Eric Wedge's voice was audible through the closed
doors, but he insisted that it was an upbeat session, that it
wasn't about the ninth inning.
"It was more about where we're at," he said. "We've got 100
games left, just talking to the fellas. It was all positive."
Although Martinez declined comment on the session, Wickman
called it a "great meeting."
Hafner had three hits and improved to 15-for-31 lifetime against
Garcia. Martinez had two hits and extended his hitting streak to
nine games, after homering twice on Saturday. And Belliard had two
hits and drove in four runs.
The Indians were leading 3-2 when Hafner led off the fifth with
a walk. Martinez then knocked a 3-2 pitch an estimated 414 feet to
right-center for his 10th homer. After Ben Broussard walked,
Belliard then sent a shot to the bullpen in left for his fourth
Garcia left to boos after Hafner made it 8-2 with his 18th
homer. The right-hander has allowed 10 homers in his last four
starts and is 0-3 in that stretch. It was also his third loss to
the Indians. Cleveland has scored 20 runs in 16 innings against
Garcia, who suggested he might have tipped his pitches.
"I throw a good pitch, and they take it," he said. "Maybe
they know what's coming. I have to work on that. I have to try to
find out what is going on."
Chicago's Alex Cintron hit his second homer in six days -- a solo
shot in the third.
Otherwise, the White Sox did little against Westbrook, who had a
1.35 earned-run average in his first two starts against them.
Wickman called his exchange with Byrd "just a little argument
"You ever get into an argument with your wife? People have
arguments," Wickman said.
He had saved 24 straight games dating to last August before
allowing two runs and four hits, including Tadahito Iguchi's
game-winning single on Saturday.
Afterward, the closer was walking around the locker room with
ice on his right shoulder when Byrd said, "Take it off." Wickman
responded by saying, "We can take this outside." The exchange
ended when Wickman walked to the trainer's room.
"What had happened last night was over," Wickman said. "I
talked to you guys about it (before the game), and I never talk
about it the next day. So I am lightening up to the media a little
bit. I always stay focused because anything can happen."
Cleveland hit four homers against Oakland on June 7. ...
The Indians recalled IF Ramon Vazquez from Triple-A Buffalo on
Sunday and had him start at shortstop in place of the struggling
Jhonny Peralta. Vazquez had three errors. ... White Sox 3B Joe
Crede was back in the starting lineup after missing two games with
back spasms. He left Thursday's game against Detroit in the second