First-place Indians swept in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) The Cleveland Indians don't come back to Chicago until September. After their weekend series against the White Sox, they won't mind.
Paul Konerko hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and the White Sox routed the Indians 12-6 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
The Indians entered the series winners of eight of 10, but were outscored 35-16 by the White Sox, who have won five straight for the first time this season and nine of 10 overall.
The sweep cut the first-place Indians' AL Central lead to just a half-game over Chicago.
Sunday was starter Ubaldo Jimenez's turn to get knocked around. Jimenez (5-4) was roughed up for seven runs in four-plus innings. He walked four and struck out three.
The right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox.
"They hit us around again," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Ubaldo didn't throw enough strikes and had a tough time putting hitters away. He gave up two-strike hits that really hurt him and just couldn't locate his pitches."
Chicago has homered in 13 consecutive games for the first time since 2006, and scored nine or more runs in four consecutive games.
In the fourth inning, Konerko battled back from an 0-2 count against Jimenez and deposited the eighth pitch of the at-bat into the left-center field seats to give Chicago a 7-4 lead.
"It was a tough at-bat, he's a tough guy," Jimenez said. "I threw a lot of good pitches, he kept fouling them off until he got a good one. We tried to throw a slider once again and it stayed a little bit over the plate."
It was Konerko's 400th home run in a White Sox uniform, and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He came out for a curtain call after fans chanted "Paul-ie!" Paul-ie!"
Konerko finished with two hits and four RBIs, and raised his average to a majors-best .399.
"This is one of those streaks during the year where you probably get a couple of them per year," he said.
Johnny Damon hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot for the Indians in the second inning that briefly tied the game at three.
Gavin Floyd (4-5) earned the win despite allowing five runs on 10 hits over five-plus innings. He also hit three batters with pitches.
Chicago jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first. Konerko drove in the first run on a fielder's choice after Jimenez loaded the bases with nobody out. Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez followed with RBI singles.
Cleveland tied the game quickly in the second on Damon's homer. Things could have been much worse for Floyd, who struck out three in a row after allowing the first five Indians to reach.
Ramirez put the White Sox back in front with a two-out RBI single in the third, but Michael Brantley's run-scoring single tied it again.
The White Sox tacked on three more in the fifth on back-to-back triples by Orlando Hudson and Alejandro De Aza.
Dayan Viciedo drove in two with a bases loaded single in the ninth.
Cleveland catcher Lou Marson was hit in the face by a pitch in the fourth inning and left the game in the fifth. He received three stitches in his mouth, but expects to be ready to play Monday.
Cleveland placed No. 1 catcher Carlos Santana on the seven-day disabled list Saturday after diagnosing a concussion.
Juan Diaz led off the third with a single for the Indians, his first big league hit. He also singled and scored in the sixth.
Notes: White Sox 3B Brent Morel (back) took batting practice Sunday and is hoping to begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday with Triple-A Charlotte. . LHP John Danks (shoulder) played soft toss on Sunday and said his arm feels "better than it did a few days ago," noting that he still feels some discomfort in the back of his arm. . Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera (tight left hamstring) will run and take batting practice on Monday. He hasn't played since leaving Friday night's game in the seventh inning. . Chris Sale (5-2, 2.50 ERA) pitches the series opener for the White Sox in Tampa Bay on Monday. Josh Tomlin (1-2, 4.67) will go for Cleveland against Kansas City.
Updated May 27, 2012