White Sox 9, Indians 8

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CHICAGO (AP)—Ozzie Guillen’s first month as a major league manager has given him reason to fidget. The Chicago White Sox’s early-season success has been anything but a breeze.

Chicago rallied for five runs in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday, beating the Cleveland Indians 9-8 on Sandy Alomar’s sacrifice fly.

It marked the third time the White Sox overcame a ninth-inning deficit to win, and five of their seven home wins this season came in their final at-bat.

Guillen’s team is now 7-1 in one-run games.

“It’s fun to watch if you are a fan, but if you are in the dugout it gets intense every day, day-in and day-out,” Guillen said.

“A win is a win, but I wish we would win one easy before this thing is over,” he said.

Chicago trailed 8-2 after six innings. Still down 8-4, the White Sox then stormed back—it was the first time they’d overcome a four-run deficit to win in the bottom of the ninth since June 4, 1988.

Juan Uribe led off with a single and Magglio Ordonez followed with a home run against David Riske. One out later, Carlos Lee doubled, and Rafael Betancourt (2-3) relieved.

On a blustery day at U.S. Cellular Field with wind gusting at 33 mph, Indians first baseman Ben Broussard—who entered the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement—dropped Paul Konerko’s towering popup for an error.

“The wind is blowing real hard, but the ball still has to be caught,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “There are no excuses.”

Joe Crede and Timo Perez followed with RBI singles to tie it at 8 and Alomar hit his sacrifice fly to right to score Crede.

After Wednesday’s implosion, the Indian bullpen stands at 3-8 overall, and has blown five of seven save opportunities.

Mike Jackson (1-0) got the victory with two hitless innings of relief.

“I always think I’m going to win and you have to get 27 outs, but when you are behind by that many runs, it’s very difficult,” Alomar said.

“This team has done it in the past. You have to chip away,” he added. “They did the same thing to us yesterday little by little. They caught up and they went ahead and beat us.”

Cleveland overcame a 4-0 first-inning deficit Tuesday and beat the White Sox 11-7 with four runs in the 10th.

The Indians fell behind 2-0 Wednesday after the first, but then scored six runs in the fourth, highlighted by Ronnie Belliard’s three-run double. Cleveland pushed the lead to 8-2 on Omar Vizquel’s two-run homer in the sixth off Chicago starter Scott Schoeneweis.

But Uribe and Crede homered in the seventh and eighth innings to get the White Sox in position to come back—with the help of a wind-blown popup.

“When Broussard dropped Paul’s fly, it seemed the wheel started to turn in our favor right there,” Crede said.

“It played difficult every inning. I feel sorry for Broussard because he came into the game not knowing what I did. We were out there for nine innings and knew what the wind was doing,” Indians left fielder Matt Lawton said.

“You can’t blame it on one play. The game should have never come to that.”

Cleveland starter Jason Davis went 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits, including Uribe’s solo homer in the seventh.

Lawton, Lou Merloni and Alex Escobar hit consecutive singles for Cleveland’s first run in the fourth. After Tim Laker walked to load the bases, Belliard hit a two-out, hard hopper past third on a 3-2 pitch, driving in three and giving the Indians a 4-2 lead.

Belliard scored when Ordonez dropped Vizquel’s fly ball to right for an error. After Jody Gerut reached on an infield single, Casey Blake hit an RBI double.

The White Sox got two in the first when Willie Harris scored when Vizqueldropped a throw during a rundown, and Lee had an RBI single.

Notes

The White Sox scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth against Texas to win 10-8 in that 1988 game. … Belliard doubled twice and drew two walks and is now batting .425. …Lawton got his 1,000th career hit leading off the second but was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double. … The field was littered with hot dog wrappers and debris. A couple of times play had to be stopped while batters turned their heads away from the dirt being blown around. … Schoeneweis allowed 10 hits and eight runs in 5 1-3 innings, giving up more runs Wednesday than he had in his previous three starts (seven)combined.

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