CLEVELAND -- Victor Martinez hugged teammates and danced in the dugout as if he had just won the World Series.
It was a special moment for Cleveland's switch-hitter, who hit his first home run in nearly a year to help the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 9-3 on Tuesday night."It felt great to see one finally go out," Martinez said.The White Sox remained tied with Minnesota for the AL Central lead despite losing for the fifth time in six games. Chicago will try to avoid a three-game sweep Wednesday."Something's missing," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It seems like we are tired. It seems like we are dead. There are a lot of things that we are missing right now."Maybe because we're not scoring many runs. Maybe because the starting pitching throws four innings and that's it. Maybe we're not coaching right. Maybe I'm making the wrong decisions."We have to find out right away because if we continue to play like that, it's going to be real tough to compete."Fausto Carmona (8-5) pitched 5 2/3 innings to win his third straight start and Asdrubal Cabrera broke out of a 1-for-19 slump with three hits for the Indians, winners of 12 of 15.Chicago's Nick Swisher snapped his 0-for-19 slide with an eighth-inning double.Martinez put Cleveland ahead 2-0 in the second inning against John Danks (10-8).Jhonny Peralta walked and Martinez, activated Friday after having right elbow surgery in mid-June, hit the first pitch he saw over the wall in left. It was his first homer in 57 games and 203 at-bats since Sept. 25."Nobody has more fun playing this game than Victor," said backup catcher Sal Fasano, who greeted Martinez with a bearhug in the dugout. "It was a lot of fun to see him do that."Martinez said he was teased by teammates and enjoyed every minute of it."I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about [his drought]," Martinez said. "This game is all about having fun and the guys made some fun of me. It was a great feeling."Franklin Gutierrez's two-run double made it 4-0 in the fifth.Carmona failed to get out of the sixth when Chicago scored three runs, helped by the right-hander's wildness. Jermaine Dye walked and scored on a wild pitch. Another run scored on a sacrifice fly by Swisher. Then Carmona hit Alexei Ramirez in the hand with a pitch and pinch-hitter Jose Uribe followed with a two-out RBI double off the left-field wall to make it 4-3."I tried to make a perfect pitch and it sank too much," Carmona said of his wild pitch in the dirt that skipped past catcher Kelly Shoppach.Rafael Betancourt came on to strike out Jerry Owens with runners on second and third to preserve the one-run lead."Betancourt did a good job to protect that lead right there," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "That was huge."Carmona allowed three runs and five hits. He walked two and struck out two.Danks gave up four runs and eight hits over four innings in his third straight loss.Peralta had an RBI single off D.J. Carrasco in Cleveland's five-run seventh. Boone Logan then issued a bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter Shin-Soo Choo before giving up a two-run single to Cabrera and Grady Sizemore's run-scoring single to make it 9-3.Chicago leads the majors with 199 home runs, but did not hit any for the second consecutive game after hitting 21 in its previous 12 games.'
Chicago OFs Carlos Quentin (sore left forearm) and Ken Griffey Jr. (lower back stiffness) did not play. ... White Sox 3B Joe Crede left in the sixth with tightness in his lower back. "We lost three guys in less than six hours," Guillen said. ... White Sox LHP Mark Buehrle returned to Chicago to be with his wife, who is ill. He is scheduled to start Friday night. ... DH Travis Hafner and LHP Aaron Laffey were not among six players called up by Cleveland from Triple-A Buffalo. Laffey was shut down with an inflamed left elbow. Hafner, out since May with a sore right shoulder, likely will keep rehabbing in the minors. ... Sizemore is the Indians' winner of the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award that recognizes good play on the field and work in the community.