July 29, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
71°F
test

Indians’ Laffey gets first win, trip back to the minors

CHICAGO — Aaron Laffey outpitched Mark Buehrle to earn his first major league win Thursday night. And what was the rookie’s reward after helping the Cleveland Indians to a 7-5 win over the Chicago White Sox?

A trip back to the minors.

“I knew that was always the possibility that I wasn’t going to be up here for the rest of the season,” Laffey said. “But I’m going to go back down to Triple-A and do what I’ve been doing and hopefully get called back up.”

If he pitches the way he did against Buehrle, one of the AL’s top left-handers, his chances of coming back are awfully high, especially when rosters expand.

In his second major league start, the 22-year-old lefty Laffey (1-1) worked 5 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and five hits. He was helped out by an offense that scored five times in the fourth inning, a rally capped by Kelly Shoppach’s three-run homer.

But Laffey is headed back to Triple-A Buffalo to clear a roster spot for veteran infielder Chris Gomez, who was picked up on trade waivers from the Baltimore Orioles.

“It’s going to help the team. I’m not in any way disappointed. I got my first win tonight,” Laffey said.

“Knowing I was going to pitch against Buehrle, it was very exciting for me. A guy I’ve looked up to, being a left-handed starter. We kind of have the same type of games. It was good to get a win against someone of that caliber.”

The Indians won for just the seventh time in their last 17 games but increased their lead in the AL Central to 1½ games over Detroit.

Joe Borowski gave up a two-out homer to Juan Uribe, his 13th, before striking out Danny Richar in the ninth for his 32nd save in 36 chances.

Buehrle (9-7) was rocked for seven runs and eight hits in four-plus innings.

“One of those things. I was kind of cruising along, I felt good, was making pitches and my arm felt good and it just kind of fell apart there,” Buehrle said.

“It’s frustrating, but a starting pitcher is going to through it once in a while.”

Buehrle left after Jhonny Peralta’s RBI double in the fifth, the Indians’ third straight hit to open the inning. It was the left-hander’s shortest outing since his first start of the season on April 5, also against Cleveland, when he lasted just 1 1-3 innings after he was hit in the forearm by Ryan Garko’s line drive.

Victor Martinez opened the fourth with a hard one-hopper through the middle that deflected off Buehrle’s back leg for an infield single. Martinez made it into first with a headfirst slide.

“We were just trying to have some good at-bats tonight. Lately we haven’t done that,” Martinez said.

Garko walked, Jason Michaels hit an RBI single and another run scored when Chicago third baseman Josh Fields misplayed Franklin Gutierrez’s hard hopper for an error.

Shoppach, in an 0-for-17 skid, followed with an opposite-field shot to right, his fifth homer of the season for a 5-3 lead. Josh Barfield, also in an 0-for-17 slump, then hit a double before Buehrle finally retired the side.

“Victor’s headfirst slide probably woke us up a little bit,” Shoppach said. “To see him attempt to be fast and playing hard, we started rolling after that.”

Pierzynski led off the sixth with his 11th homer to make it 7-4. Laffey retired the next two batters before being lifted after throwing 95 pitches.

The White Sox got two runs in the second on a walk and three straight two-out singles by Darin Erstad, Uribe and Richar. Jermaine Dye hit another two-out, run-scoring single in the third.