October 22, 2014

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Indians edge White Sox, feel confident heading into big series with first-place Royals

Cleveland Indians' Roberto Perez, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring on a single hit by Michael Brantley against the Chicago White Sox Thursday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Cleveland Indians’ Roberto Perez, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring on a single hit by Michael Brantley against the Chicago White Sox Thursday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO — Michael Bourn and the Cleveland Indians are feeling pretty good heading into a big series with Kansas City.

Bourn had two triples among his three hits, leading Carlos Carrasco and the Indians to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.

Cleveland took two of three from scuffling Chicago and has won 11 of 16 overall. It begins a three-game series at the AL Central-leading Royals tonight.

“The thing is, try not to look too far ahead,” Bourn said. “That’s the biggest key — don’t focus on what everybody else is doing every day. All we can control is what’s in (the clubhouse), then go play.”

The Indians trail the Royals by 5 1/2 games, with Detroit in second place. But the Indians have six games left against Kansas City and seven against Detroit.

“We’re going to fly the same flight,” manager Terry Francona said. “We’re going to eat the same food. I mean, it’s exciting. Shoot, (the Royals) are playing great, so we don’t need to get ahead of ourselves.”

Carrasco pitched into the seventh inning for Cleveland, and Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley each singled in a run.

Alexei Ramirez had two hits for the White Sox, and John Danks (9-9) pitched six solid innings.

Carrasco (6-4) improved to 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA in four starts since he returned to the rotation. The right-hander also began the year as a starter, but then lost three of his first four outings.

He struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings while holding the White Sox to one run and four hits.

“You know, that’s what I’ve been doing the last few games — attack the hitters,” Carrasco said. “I just need to do my job and keep the team in there.”

Cleveland grabbed the lead for good in the sixth. Jose Ramirez led off with a single and stole second. Then he advanced to third on a ground out and scored on Kipnis’ base hit, giving the Indians a 2-1 advantage.

Brantley added an RBI single in the seventh.

Danks allowed two runs and five hits while falling to 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five August starts.

Chicago closed to 3-2 on Adam Dunn’s RBI single in the eighth against Cody Allen, who struck out the next four batters for his 18th save in 19 attempts.

“He’s pretty good,” Francona said when asked about the closer’s dominant performance. “You may need to get cable or something to watch him.”

White Sox rookie Jose Abreu hit a run-scoring single in the third, tying it at 1. It ran his total for the season to 97 RBIs, tied with Miami’s Giancarlo
Stanton for the major league lead.

Cleveland jumped in front when Bourn tripled on the first pitch of the game and scored on Jose Ramirez’s grounder.

The Indians threatened to take a 3-0 lead in the second, but Alejandro De Aza made a leaping catch above the left-field fence to rob Zach Walters of a two-run homer.

Like old times

Francona said he keeps track of the Chicago Cubs when possible. Francona and Cubs executive Theo Epstein were part of two World Series titles with the Red Sox.

“I know they have a lot of young kids coming and they’re pretty excited about it,” said Francona, who has exchanged voice mails and text messages with
Epstein in recent months. “I’m not surprised. To anybody who ever asked me about Theo when he came to Chicago, the two things I’ve said were, he won’t get outworked and he’s too smart not to figure it out.”

Safe at home

Kipnis hit safely for the 25th time in 27 career games at U.S. Cellular Field. The Chicago-area native also escaped serious injury when White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie’s heel inadvertently clipped him in the face.

Trainer’s room

Indians: C Yan Gomes is on pace to return from the seven-day concussion list before the series opener in Kansas City today. As a precautionary measure, Gomes will take part in the pregame workout before the roster move is completed. … 1B Nick Swisher is expected to spend most if not all of September in Los Angeles, where he is recuperating from recent surgeries on both knees.

White Sox: OF Moises Sierra continues to work his way back from a strained left oblique. He was 4-for-12 in the first three games of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.

UP NEXT

White Sox: In a matchup of right-handers, Scott Carroll (5-8, 5.05 ERA) will oppose the Tigers’ Justin Verlander (11-11, 4.82 ERA) today.

Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (4-6, 4.52 ERA) will take the mound against Royals LHP Jason Vargas (10-6, 3.17 ERA) in the opener of the three-game set today.

TONIGHT

WHO: Cleveland vs. Kansas City
TIME: 8:10
WHERE: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
PITCHERS: Salazar (4-6, 4.52 ERA) vs. Vargas (10-6, 3.17)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM

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