CLEVELAND -- Following his team's 4-2 win over Cleveland on Wednesday, Ozzie Guillen leaned back in his chair and breathed a sigh of relief.
"We needed this one, man," he said.The Chicago White Sox manager wasn't kidding. The White Sox came into the game having lost five of six, and were tied with Minnesota atop the AL Central.Nick Swisher and Alexei Ramirez homered to help the White Sox, playing without five regulars, avert a three-game sweep."It was an important game," starter Javier Vazquez said. "If we want to get to the playoffs, we have to win."Guillen thought Wednesday's game was so important that he went to closer Bobby Jenks for a save that required getting more than three outs, something he hasn't done during the regular season since Sept. 13, 2005.Jenks entered with one out in the eighth and runners on first and third, getting Ryan Garko to hit into a double play. After allowing a leadoff single to Jamey Carroll in the ninth, he got Kelly Shoppach to hit into a double play and struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the game."I don't like doing that," Guillen said. "I did it because we needed it and we have the day off [Thursday]). We gambled a little bit. The two double plays helped us."Jenks recorded his 28th save in 31 opportunities."I've been going one inning all year so I'm still fresh," he said. "I wasn't surprised. We've been talking about this for about a week."Jenks came in after one-out singles by Ben Francisco and Shin-Soo Choo off Matt Thornton. Garko bounced the second pitch to third baseman Juan Uribe, who started the double play."It was a sinker in," Jenks said. "It was probably the biggest pitch of the game."Vazquez (11-12) allowed two runs in six innings.The Indians came into this homestand on a 10-game winning streak, but were swept in three games by Seattle before the White Sox came to town. Cleveland stranded seven runners, had another runner caught stealing and was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position Wednesday."The games we lost were very similar," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "We had a lot of opportunities where one swing could have tied the game or given us the lead."Jeremy Sowers (2-8) retired the first nine hitters, but gave up two runs in the fifth -- the first on Swisher's homer -- and Ramirez's two-run homer in the sixth."I left a pitch over the plate to Swisher," Sowers said. "The pitch to Ramirez was down and in. That was tough hitting there."Due to injuries and scheduled days off, Guillen was forced to go with a lineup that resembled a spring training game. Left fielder Carlos Quentin (sore right forearm), center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and third baseman Joe Crede (both with back tightness) were unavailable. Designated hitter Jim Thome was on the bench until pinch-hitting in the ninth and catcher A.J. Pierzynski was given the day off.After managing one hit in the first four innings, the White Sox scored four runs on five hits in the next two innings before Sowers was pulled with one out in the sixth.Swisher led off the fifth with a homer into the porch in left field on a 2-1 pitch. Josh Fields, starting at DH, singled with one out and scored on Orlando Cabrera's double off the wall in left-center.Jermaine Dye singled with one out in the sixth. Ramirez, moved to fifth in the batting order, hit a 3-2 pitch into the left-center bleachers, making it 4-0.Jhonny Peralta doubled in two runs in the sixth.
Cliff Lee, who became the Indians' first 20-game winner in 34 years on Monday night, was picked as the American League pitcher of the month for August. He was 5-0 in the month with a 1.86 earned run average in five starts. ... DH Travis Hafner, on the disabled list since May 30 with a sore right shoulder, is scheduled to continue his rehabilitation assignment with one of the Indians' minor league teams that is in postseason play. ... OF Grady Sizemore fouled a ball off his right foot in the first inning, but stayed in the game. ... The Indians announced a two-year extension on their player development contract with Class A Mahoning Valley. The short-season team plays in the New York-Penn League and has been affiliated with the Indians since 1999. ... Thome walked in the ninth off LHP Rich Rundles, who was making his major league debut. ... The White Sox ended their road trip with a 4-5 record. ... A squirrel made its way on the field in the ninth inning, briefly delaying play when it ran from right field, across the first base line and behind the mound. The squirrel eventually ran to left field where grounds crew members chased it out a door in the wall. ... Both teams are off Thursday.