White Sox drop wet one to Indians
Right-hander Floyd weathers storm until rocky seventh inning
CHICAGO -- For the last two innings of Monday night's game at U.S. Cellular Field, it was easy to hear the crack of the glove after every pitch in the bullpen. Any fan could cheer or boo, and it would be audible to every person in the ballpark. It felt as much like a high school game as it did a Major League contest featuring a division leader.
By the time Juan Uribe popped out to end the Indians' 6-2 victory over the White Sox, there weren't more than 200 fans left to see it.
It was a bizarre end to a rather bizarre game that was played mostly through a classic Midwest downpour. The affair even featured a 2 hours, 32 minute rain delay after the seventh inning.
The conditions were miserable nearly from the start. After a nine-minute rain delay before first pitch, it was dry for about an inning before the showers came again.
But despite the torrential downpour, the umpires elected to continue the game all the way through the seventh inning, at which point the field was a waterlogged mess.
Gavin Floyd performed admirably through the harsh conditions, firing a season-best 6 1/3 innings, while allowing three runs -- two earned -- on five hits. It was his third straight quality start after a rocky start to his White Sox career.
"You try to keep the ball dry and it is a little distracting sometimes," Floyd said. "It is just one of the things you have to do -- block it out."
Floyd did not allow a hit until there was one out in the fourth inning, and struck out four Indian's hitters and walked just two.
The Sox right-hander was pulled with one out in the sixth after giving up a pair of hits during the Indians' game-winning rally. Mike Myers entered the ballgame and gave up a home run to Asdrubal Cabrera that gave the Tribe a 4-2 lead.
The White Sox went down in order in the bottom of the frame before the umpires decided to temporarily pull the plug on the action.
There was some question whether the field would be in playing shape, even after the lengthy delay. But the umpires came out to inspect the field once the rain passed and deemed it fit for play.
"The field was real wet," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But the umpires have a job to do and we have a job to do. We started the game again and the field was fine. This field, [head groundskeeper] Roger [Bossard] do a pretty good job every time this field is in bad condition. He puts it back together."
The field may have been back together, but the Sox certainly weren't. The South Siders emerged from the clubhouse looking sluggish, and made a number of defensive blunders in the final two frames.
First baseman Darin Erstad had a runner picked off at third, but threw the ball too late, and the runner returned to the bag safely. Later in the eighth inning, Kenny Lofton took an extra base while the White Sox defense was busy appealing a tag up play following a sacrifice fly.
The one bright spot for the Sox was that there were few fans still in the park to see the late gaffes. The game, plus the two rain delays, took just over five and half hours from start to finish.
"[Thankfully], it was 80, and not 40,000, because I was a little bit embarrassed about those plays," Guillen said. "The layoff, maybe we weren't mentally ready to play. I think Kenny Lofton take advantage and we fall asleep a little bit on the field. It's something we have to be aware of."
The Indians tacked on a pair of runs in the final two frames and the White Sox offense did little to challenge the AL Central leaders' bullpen.
Fausto Carmona took the victory for the Tribe, limiting the South Siders offense to two runs -- one earned -- on just three hits in seven innings.
The Sox did strike for two runs in the first to take an early lead. The White Sox got just one hit in the inning, but took advantage of a walk, a hit batsman and a throwing error by shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
The loss dropped the White Sox into a tie with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Florida Marlins for the worst record in Major League Baseball at 61-83. They remain 1 1/2 games behind Kansas City for last place in the AL Central.
Jim Thome had a chance to continue his chase to 500 career home runs against his former team, but could not capitalize. The big lefty finished the game 1-for-4 with a single and run scored, but no home runs. He still needs two more to reach the major milestone.
Thome played for the Indians for 12 seasons and admitted that it would be special to hit it against his former club.
"It would be great," Thome said before Monday's game. "I have a lot of history there. There's a lot of people -- from broadcasters to [other] people -- that were there when I was there. It would be special, it would. I can't say it wouldn't."
Thome has two more chances this year to go deep against the Indians. This week's series is the last time the squads face off in 2007.
Alex Gyr is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.