Cleveland (57-54) at Chicago (54-53)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 3:05 pm EDT Sun Aug 8, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With their playoff hopes fading fast, the slumping Chicago White Sox will try to recover from a heartbreaking loss as they continue a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field.

The White Sox, who went into the All-Star break leading the AL Central, are now in third place, one game behind the Indians and seven back of first-place Minnesota following Saturday’s 6-5 loss.

The defeat, Chicago’s fourth straight and 11th in 13 games, came after closer Shingo Takatsu blew a 5-3 lead in the ninth, giving up a three-run homer to Matt Lawton.

“You don’t know whether to cry or be mad. It broke my heart,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Takatsu, the career saves leader in Japan known as “Mr. Zero,” had allowed just two earned runs in his previous 35 appearances and entered play with a 1.09 ERA. He was going for his 10th save in 10 chances.

“Closer is a very difficult position,” Takatsu said through a translator.

“If you win, it is going to be all happy. When we lose like this, it’s a tough situation, but you have to do it. You have to come back tomorrow. It happens.”

Lawton is batting .362 (17-for-47) with two homers, 12 RBIs and seven walks against the White Sox this season. His three RBIs Saturday gave him 65 for his career against Chicago— his most against any opponent.

“It was definitely a big one for us, it helped us win the game and get into second place,” said Lawton, who is hitting .389 (7-for-18) with two homers and five RBIs in his last four games.

The Indians have won four straight and 11 of 16 overall.

Jose Contreras will be back on the mound for Chicago after posting a 12-4 win over Kansas City in his White Sox debut on Tuesday.

Contreras, acquired from the New York Yankees in exchange for All-Star Esteban Loiaza at the trade deadline, gave up two runs and five hits over six innings.

The Cuban right-hander improved to 16-7 in his two-year career.

“I’m happy everything went so well in my first game,” said Contreras, who signed a $32 million, four-year contract with the Yankees in December 2002. “I’m happy to be in Chicago. My teammates put up some runs for me and made it easier.”

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Starting Pitchers

S. Elarton Min vs. J. Contreras Tex
3-11 Record 13-9
5.90 ERA 5.50
103 K 150
62 BB 84
1.42 WHIP 1.47