White Sox 8, Indians 5
CHICAGO (AP)—An early four-run lead got away from Esteban Loaiza. Thanks to some late offense from his White Sox teammates, he still became the first 19-game winner in the major leagues.
“It’s a big victory for us and especially for me after pitching seven innings and giving up five runs and two homers,” Loaiza said Saturday after Chicago rallied to beat the Cleveland Indians 8-5. “We got runs at the end and ended up winning and that’s what it’s all about.”
Chicago remained tied for the AL Central lead with Minnesota, which beat Texas 5-2.
Loaiza (19-6), who went to spring training with a minor league contract and then started the All-Star game, wasn’t sharp, allowing five runs and eight hits in seven innings while striking out 10. But his offense bailed him out after he couldn’t hold a 4-0 lead.
Paul Konerko homered to tie it in the sixth and then hit a two-run, go-ahead single in the seventh.
“It’s really nice. I’ve still got more starts, I’ve got 19 under my belt,” said Loaiza, who is to go for No. 20 Thursday against the Twins. “There will be a lot of pressure, especially thinking about it now. But on game day, I’ll just go out and throw strikes.”
Konerko’s 17th homer, on Rafael Betancourt’s second pitch in the sixth inning, tied the game at 5. The White Sox then scored three times with two outs in the seventh.
Jack Cressend (2-1) gave up a single to Roberto Alomar, and Magglio Ordonez doubled with two outs. Danys Baez relieved, Konerko fouled a ball off a leg and hobbled around, then grounded a two-run single to left for a 7-5 lead.
“It was pretty painful. I don’t know if I’ve ever fouled a ball off the back of my right knee,” Konerko said. “It takes a special hitter to do that. It’s pretty painful, but I’ll get some ice on it and it won’t slow me down.”
But homers by Jody Gerut and Josh Bard put the Indians ahead 5-4. Gerut hit a three-run shot, his 20th of the season, with two outs in the third. Bard hit another two-out homer, a two-run drive in the fourth, to give the Indians the lead.
“We hadn’t seen Loaiza since I’ve been up. He has pitches that don’t look like strikes leaving his hand, but end up being strikes,” Gerut said. “Thatwhy he’s been doing so well.”
Toronto’s Roy Halladay got his 19th win later Saturday. … Carlton Fisk joined many of his 1983 White Sox teammates in celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 99-win season and division title. Fisk caught an opening pitch from LaMarr Hoyt, the AL Cy Young Award winner that season, as other members and officials stood around the mound. The current White Sox wore retro uniforms from that season, a red-white-and-blue outfit with “SOX” across the front. … Gerut’s 71 RBIs are the most by an Indians rookie since Julio Franco had 80 in 1983. He has five homers and 16 RBIs in his last 11 games. The former Stanford star is a native of Elmhurst, Ill., a Chicago suburb. … The Indians have lost five straight. … The last White Sox pitcher to win 20 games wasfrom another of their division winners—Jack McDowell in 1993.