CLEVELAND (AP) -- Now that the Chicago White Sox are nice and
relaxed, Ozzie Guillen wants his critics to give it a rest.
The energetic manager didn't compromise baseball's integrity
with a patchwork lineup against Cleveland on Friday night. Instead,
he fielded one that pushed the Indians to the edge of elimination.
"I want to sweep these guys," Guillen said after Chicago's 3-2
win in 13 innings. "We might not. But we're going to try to win."
The White Sox can't be accused of coasting or playing favorites.
Resting many of their starters to prepare for the AL playoffs,
the White Sox dealt Cleveland's postseason chances a damaging blow
with yet another one-run win over the Indians, who lost for the
fourth time in five games following a 17-2 stretch.
September callup Ross Gload hit a two-run double in the 13th off
rookie Fernando Cabrera (2-1) as the newly crowned AL Central
champions secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
To some baseball purists and rabid fans from Brooklyn to
Brookline, Guillen was condemned for the lineup he posted for the
series opener with the Indians, locked in a three-way playoff fight
with Boston and New York.
But not only did the White Sox backups play hard, they won while
knocking the Indians back a bit.
Afterward, Guillen took a few swings of his own.
"People were killing me on national TV," Guillen said. "They
said I wasn't respecting the game, but that's only because it was
Boston and New York. If it had happened to another team, no one
would have talked about it.
"Every manager in baseball does what I did. The day after you
clinch, you play your bench guys. [Atlanta manager] Bobby Cox does
it and he's a genius. I do it and everybody says I don't know what
Cleveland (93-67), which had rallied in the ninth to force extra
innings, dropped one game behind AL East co-leaders Boston and New
York (94-66) with two games remaining. The Indians also dropped to
22-35 in one-run games, including an 0-8 mark against the White
"We seem to always lose the close games to them, but we've got
two left," Indians starter Kevin Millwood said. "We win them both
and we know we've got at least a playoff on Monday."
The Indians closed to 3-2 on Ronnie Belliard's two-out homer,
his 17th, on a 1-2 pitch from Bobby Jenks. But Chicago's eighth
pitcher retired Ben Broussard on an infield pop for his fifth save.
With one out in the top of the 13th, Willie Harris tripled off
the right-field wall. Scott Podsednik dropped a bunt toward first,
and Harris foolishly broke late for home plate. Broussard threw
home to catcher Victor Martinez, who chased Harris back toward the
bag and tagged him for the second out.
Pinch-hitter Paul Konerko, one of many Chicago regulars rested
by manager Ozzie Guillen, was walked intentionally and lifted for
pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna. Gload, who was 0-for-5 with three
strikeouts and batting just .135, then lined a two-run double to
center that gave the White Sox a 3-1 lead.
"It was the worst 0-for-5 I have ever had," Gload said. "It
turned out to be a good 1-for-6."
The crushing blow deflated the Jacobs Field sellout crowd of
41,072, which spent more than four hours moaning and groaning at
missed chances by the Indians and watching the score from Fenway
Park between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Cliff Politte (7-1) pitched a scoreless 12th for the win.
The Indians wasted numerous scoring chances, including a
bases-loaded one-out opportunity in the 11th off Neal Cotts, who
struck out Broussard and retired Aaron Boone on an easy grounder to
"Obviously, this is a tough one," Indians manager Eric Wedge
said. "We weren't able to get the big hit. We've got two games
left and these guys have stepped up all year."
Down to their final three outs, the Indians came back in the
ninth off Damaso Marte.
Travis Hafner led off with a single, reviving the edgy crowd
before Martinez ripped a double inside the bag at third that sent
pinch-runner Franklin Gutierrez to third. Dustin Hermanson
relieved, and Belliard broke his bat on a 0-1 pitch, trickling a
tying RBI grounder to shortstop.
With Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Carl Everett and A.J. Pierzynski
watching from the dugout along with Guillen one day after they
celebrated winning the Central for the first time since 2000, the
White Sox befuddled the Indians for eight innings.
Mark Buehrle allowed three hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out six
and walked two, the second a leadoff pass to Coco Crisp opening the
sixth. Buehrle struck out Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner but was
lifted by Guillen, who shared a laugh with the lefty on the mound
before sending him off.
Luis Vizcaino came on and gave up a single to Martinez before
striking out Belliard.
Millwood, who finished the regular season with a 2.86 ERA,
didn't get any run support again. The right-hander allowed one run
and five hits in seven innings, and tied a season-high with nine
The Indians set a club record with 51 homers in September.
... Buehrle had gone at least six innings in 59 of 60 starts. The
only time he didn't was when he was ejected for hitting Baltimore's
B.J. Surhoff in an Aug. 1 start. ... Podsednik swiped his 59th
base, giving him the AL lead. He led the NL with 70 last season for
Milwaukee. ... If Millwood, whose ERA (2.8593) is slightly better
than Minnesota's Johan Santana (2.9243) wins the ERA title, he'd be
the first AL pitcher to do so with a losing record since
Cleveland's Mel Harder in 1933. Santana is scheduled to start
Sunday. ... Millwood's 30th start gave the Indians five pitchers
who made at least that many starts for the first time in their
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