With a rare Tuesday afternoon day game thanks to the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur and the White Sox ability to alter the schedule just so Kevin Youkilis could play, Corey Kluber threw seven strong innings and Russ Canzler had three hits, propelling the Indians to a 4-3 victory to even the series up at one game a piece.
Both teams had run-scoring opportunities in the first inning and failed, but only one pitcher was able to settle down after that. Shin-Soo Choo singled to lead off the ballgame, just his 35th hit off of a left handed pitcher this season, and scampered to second on a wild pitch with one out. Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana were unable to drive him in. Corey Kluber, who has struggled mightily in the first inning this season, escaped by the skin of his teeth in the first inning today. Alejandro De Aza walked to begin the ballgame and Kevin Youkilis flew out to deep center. De Aza stole second and Adam Dunn walked. After a ground out moved both runners up a base, Alex Rios lined out to end the inning with a scoreless tie.
It didn't stay tied for long. Russ Canzler homered for the second straight day, putting the Indians ahead 1-0. After that, both pitchers navigated their way through the second and third innings before the Indians put up three in the fourth. Santana walked and Canzler followed with a double to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Matt LaPorta struck out. Brent Lillibridge walked to load the bases for Thomas Neal. Neal bounced into a fielder's choice, plating Santana, and leaving runners on the corners. Ezequiel Carrera and Shin-Soo Choo both singled home a runner to put the Indians ahead 4-0 and send Francisco Liriano to an early shower.
Kluber continued putting up zeroes until the fifth. A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo hit back-to-back homers to cut the Indians lead in half and make it a 4-2 ballgame. Those would be the only blemishes of the day for Kluber, who pitched very well, allowing just the two runs in seven innings. He gave up just four hits, walked three, and struck out four.
Vinnie Pestano got retribution, striking out Adam Dunn as the tying run in the eighth, after Dunn hit a go-ahead three-run bomb off him in Monday night's game. The Indians went scoreless over the final five innings, leaving it up to Kluber and the bullpen. Chris Perez, who entered in a save situation for the first time since September 13, immediately made it interesting by allowing a leadoff home run to Paul Konerko on the first pitch. That cut the lead to 4-3. Rios flew out and Pierzynski grounded out to put Perez one out away from his 37th save. Pinch hitter Dan Johnson drew a walk and Perez followed that up with a walk to Alexei Ramirez. Gordon Beckham bounced into a fielder's choice to end the ballgame.
With the win, the Indians opened the door for the Tigers to climb into a first-place tie in the AL Central. They also improved to 64-91. With the loss, the White Sox fell to 82-72. Corey Kluber won his second Major League game. The loss went to Francisco Liriano, who is now 3-2 with Chicago. Chris Perez notched save #37.
Stat of the Day: In night games, Chris Perez is 30/31 in save opportunities with a 1.91 ERA. In day games, Perez is 7/10 in save opps with a 6.88 ERA.
Player of the Game: Russ Canzler. Three hits, another home run, and the double that kickstarted the Tribe's three-run inning.
Tomorrow's Game: Back to a nighttime first pitch as Justin Masterson will take on Jose Quintana at 8:10 p.m.