Perez, Indians hold on to deal White Sox 4-3 loss
CHICAGO (AP) Chris Perez held on in a shaky ninth to give the Cleveland Indians a satisfying win over the AL Central-leading White Sox.
"We had a rough time and we're just thinking about winning games," manager Manny Acta said. "The last thing in our mind is to hurt somebody or knock somebody off. It's just nice to win after what we've gone through the last two months."
Chicago's loss gave Detroit an opening to tie for the division lead later Tuesday night against Kansas City.
Russ Canzler had three hits and homered for the second straight game and Cory Kluber (2-4) shut down the White Sox for seven innings.
Down 4-0, Chicago closed when A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo hit consecutive fifth-inning home runs off Kluber and then pulled within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth.
In the rocky ninth, Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force. Perez earned his career-high 37th save in 41 chances.
Chicago (82-72) has held sole possession of the division lead since Sept. 3.
Kluber gave up four hits in a career-high seven innings, retiring nine of his last 10 batters. Vinnie Pestano and Perez completed the six-hitter.
Kluber ran into trouble in the fifth inning. Pierzynski extended his career-high with a solo homer leading off the fifth, his 27th of the year. Dayan Viciedo followed with his 22nd homer to cut Cleveland's lead to 4-2.
"I made a couple bad pitches and they took advantage of them," Kluber said. "For the most part, I hadn't left too many balls over the middle. That's what I kept telling myself, `Keep executing your pitches.' "
"He grew a little as a pitcher today," Acta said. "That was a well-pitched ballgame, a crucial situation for those guys. It's a meaningful game and after starting a little shaky with his command in the first inning, he was really good.
"He had a good slider and his pitch count was unbelievable, very efficient. He gave up those two homers. He just settled down and continued to pound the strike zone and gave us seven solid innings of baseball."
Pestano redeemed himself for blowing a two-run lead in Monday's 5-4 loss with a scoreless eighth inning. He got De Aza to ground into his first double play of the season before he struck out Adam Dunn to end the inning. Dunn stunned the Indians with a late three-run homer off Pestano on Monday.
On Tuesday, the Indians got payback - albeit only as a spoiler.
"I could care less," Perez said. "I'd rather play for something."
Francisco Liriano (6-12) allowed all four runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings.
Canzler hit a solo homer to put Cleveland ahead in the second. He doubled between a pair of walks as the Indians loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and Thomas Neal barely beat out a potential double-play grounder as Carlos Santana scored. Ezequiel Carrera and Shin-Soo Choo followed with consecutive RBI singles that chased Liriano.
NOTES: Cleveland RHP Roberto Hernandez (sprained right ankle) will throw three innings in a simulated game Wednesday. Indians manager Manny Acta said Hernandez will possibly throw one more simulated game after that and be done for the season. . OF Michael Brantley (sore groin) was out of the Indians lineup on Tuesday. Acta said the Indians will check on him Wednesday. .Pierzynski has a career-best 27 homers. Only Carlton Fisk has more homers in a season by a White Sox catcher, with 37 in 1985. ... Chicago has hit back-to-back homers 10 times this year. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura shuffled his rotation, giving starters Jake Peavy and Chris Sale an extra day of rest. Peavy will pitch the series opener against the Rays on Thursday, and Sale will start the series finale on Sunday. Lefty Hector Santiago (3-1, 3.45 ERA) was plugged in for the series finale against Cleveland on Wednesday. The Indians start RHP Justin Masterson (11-15, 4.97).
Updated September 25, 2012