Cleveland (29-32) at Chicago (38-23)

Smoke Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Jun 11, 2006
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If the Cleveland Indians are to salvage a game in their weekend series with the Chicago White Sox, they’ll likely need better relief pitching.

The AL Central rivals close out a three-game series on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field, one day after Cleveland’s bullpen blew its second straight game to the White Sox.

The Indians took a 2-1 lead into the late innings Saturday behind a six-inning, one-run effort from starter C.C. Sabathia. Chicago tied the game in the eighth, though, on a pinch-hit RBI single by Scott Podsednik off reliever Fernando Cabrera with two out.

After Victor Martinez hit his second homer of the day to put the Indians up by one in the 11th, Chicago (38-23) mounted a two-run rally off Cleveland closer Bob Wickman in the bottom of the inning to win the game 5-4.

“I’ll have to look at the video to see what happened,” said Wickman, who saw his major league-leading streak of 24 consecutive saves stopped. “I can say one thing, though: I wasn’t fooling anyone.”

In Friday’s series opener, Rafael Betancourt failed to protect a one-run Indians lead in the eighth inning as Chicago came back for another 5-4 victory.

The Indians (29-32) look to Jake Westbrook (5-3, 5.04 ERA) to avoid the sweep as the right-hander tries for his third win this season against the White Sox.

The right-hander has won both of his starts this season against Chicago, giving up two runs in 13 1-3 innings of work. He gave up just six hits in seven innings in his last start against the White Sox, a 5-0 win on May 31.

“He never struggles against us,” Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “The guy always pitches great against us. I told someone on the bench that this guy can have a 10.00 ERA in 10 straight starts and he sees us and goes eight shutout (innings) every time. It’s amazing.”

Westbrook has struggling with consistency, as he has not won consecutive starts this season. In his last start on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics, he pitched 6 2-3 innings, giving up four runs and five hits—including two home runs—and did not record a decision in a 7-6 loss.

The White Sox hope to provide Freddy Garcia (7-3, 4.56) more offense than they have recently. The right-hander is 0-2 in his last three starts, but has received just three runs of support in that span.

Garcia pitched six innings and gave up three runs on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers, not recording a decision in a contest the White Sox came from behind to win 4-3.

Garcia, who turned 30 on Saturday, is 6-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 17 career appearances against the Indians. He is 0-2 against Cleveland this year, including the May 31 loss to Westbrook, in which he gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings.

Chicago has won four of its last five. The team is looking for its first three-game winning streak since sweeping the Oakland Athletics from May 22-24.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Westbrook StL vs. F. Garcia Atl
15-10 Record 17-9
4.17 ERA 4.53
109 K 135
55 BB 48
1.43 WHIP 1.28