Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
Posted: 10:21 p.m. Updated: 11:44 p.m.
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If September is the time for a player to demonstrate his qualifications, Lonnie Chisenhall is building a solid case for next season.Chisenhall hit a pair of two-run homers and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 8-4 on Friday night.Chisenhall, Cleveland's rookie third baseman, set career highs with his two homers and four RBIs as the Indians snapped a four-game losing streak."Lonnie Chisenhall had a big day, especially considering the way he has struggled against lefties," Indians manager Manny Acta said.Ezequiel Carrera, Kosuke Fukudome, Shelley Duncan and Lou Marson had two hits apiece for the Indians. Carrera and Fukudome each drove in two runs.Jeanmar Gomez (3-2) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings and improved to 3-0 with a 0.52 ERA in three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 30."We have struggled as of late," Acta said. "Gomez stepped up and stopped our four-game losing streak. He threw the ball very well, with movement, good sink on his fastball."Gomez went 0-2 record with a 5.70 ERA in five outings before being sent down on July 18. The results since his return have been startling.What's been the biggest difference?"Fastball command," Acta said. "Also, he made some mechanical adjustments down there. He's gotten a little bit more velocity on his fastball."White Sox starter Mark Buehrle (11-8) had his second straight rough outing, allowing seven runs and eight hits over 5 23 innings."It was another one of those days," Buehrle said. "I know I made a bad pitch in the sixth inning, left an 0-2 curveball hanging. That was pretty much the game right there."After entering the game just 3 for 22 with two homers against lefties this season, Chisenhall homered twice against Buehrle, who has won more games than any other southpaw in baseball over the last decade except for the Yankees' CC Sabathia."He's done great things for the White Sox," Chisenhall said. "To hit a home run off him, he's a great pitcher, so I'm definitely going to remember it."Chisenhall got the Indians on the board first, launching a first-pitch drive over the picnic area in right field.The rookie third baseman went deep on an 0-2 pitch in the sixth to almost the same area in right, putting Cleveland ahead 4-2. That gave Chisenhall his first two-homer game and his first game with more than two RBIs."The more he sees (lefties), the better he's going to get," Acta said. "He's a guy that projects not to be a platoon guy."Before the game, Acta spoke of Cleveland's need for better production from its corner infield positions next season, whether it comes from within the organization or outside. Chisenhall, 22, has been one of the Indians' top prospects for a couple of seasons and may be the ready to solve half of that dilemma."He's going to get there," Acta said. "We have to think, this kid is only 22 years old. He only played three years of minor league baseball. It's going to take him some time."Chisenhall duplicated the feat of his White Sox counterpart, third baseman Brent Morel, who had his first multi-homer game in Chicago's 8-1 win on Thursday night. He's now hit three homers over his last three games, doubling his season total."Two home runs and winning is pretty fun," Chisenhall said.The Indians tacked on three more runs in the decisive five-run sixth. Carrera singled in a run, chasing Buehrle. Fukudome then singled in two runs off reliever Will Ohman, with both runs charged to Chicago's starter.Buehrle gave up seven earned runs for the second straight start after giving up four runs or fewer each of his 21 previous starts."I feel fine," Buehrle said. "I don't feel worn out. I feel like the first couple of innings, the velocity was down a little bit. I was taking time to get loose, but the last couple of innings I was throwing a little harder. I made a couple of mistakes and I made some good pitches and they were getting hits. That's baseball."In the third, Juan Pierre doubled home Gordon Beckham and scored on Paul Konerko's sacrifice fly, drawing the White Sox even at 2.Beckham had two hits and scored two runs for the White Sox, but struck out looking with two runners in scoring position to end the game, keeping the night's focus on Chisenhall, who is going to get plenty of playing time down the stretch."Chisenhall is playing," Acta said. "We're planning on playing Lonnie a lot."NOTES
The White Sox placed utility player Brent Lillibridge on the 15-day disabled list because of a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand, suffered when he was hit by a pitch on Thursday. Lillibridge is out for the season. ... Cleveland's Fausto Carmona (6-14) will take the hill on Saturday, looking to improve on the 10.47 ERA he's posted in three starts against Chicago this season. He'll oppose Phil Humber, who threw seven scoreless innings against Minnesota in his last start, his first after coming off the disabled list.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.