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Cora's smart swing the difference in Indians' victory over ChiSox

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Alex Cora's tiebreaking single barely reached the outfield -- but it gave the Cleveland Indians a needed jolt.

Cora grounded a ball through a hole in the Chicago infield and Travis Hafner followed with a two-run double to help the Indians beat the White Sox 8-6 Thursday night.

"That was savvy baseball by a real professional," said Indians third baseman Aaron Boone of Cora's strategy-foiling hit. "We needed a run and what he did is just the kind of thing to give the whole team a burst of energy. It was big lift. You could feel it."

Victor Martinez hit his first homer of the season and drove in two, and Hafner and Ben Broussard also had two RBI apiece as the Indians pounded out 10 hits to avoid a three-game sweep. They came in with the lowest batting average (.211) and fewest runs (31) in the American League.

White Sox left fielder Carl Everett left in the first inning with a bruised left shoulder after running into the left-field wall trying to catch Broussard's two-run triple.

"I think he's OK," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Hopefully he'll be ready tomorrow."

Rafael Betancourt (1-0) pitched two innings for his first win since Aug. 5 at Toronto. Arthur Rhodes gave up an unearned run in the eighth and Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his third save.

Cora's simple grounder snapped a 5-all tie in the sixth.

Jhonny Peralta drew a walk off Orlando Hernandez (1-1) to open the inning. Reliever Neal Cotts then threw a wild pitch, sending Peralta to second before walking Coco Crisp.

Cora fouled off a bunt attempt. On Cotts' next pitch, with third baseman Joe Crede charging in and shortstop Juan Uribe moving to cover third base, Cora swung away and grounded the ball through the hole at shortstop.

"He did that on his own," said Indians manager Eric Wedge. "He recognized the play and was aggressive. His instincts are fantastic."

Cora said he intended to try and bunt the second pitch, too, then changed his mind when he saw the infielders move.

"I took a chance," he admitted. "It was luck that it went through. I know how they like to play. They took a gamble and so did I."

Guillen credited Cora for winning the game.

"He had a tremendous game, making a couple of big defensive plays, too," he said. "Alex Cora beat us."

Hafner followed with a double off the wall in left for an 8-5 lead.

Paul Konerko hit a three-run homer, his fourth, to tie the score at 4-4 in the third after Indians starter Scott Elarton issued two walks.

"I don't mind giving up the homer so much, but the two free passes were the problem," said Elarton.

Willie Harris' RBI single in the fourth put Chicago ahead 5-4, but Martinez tied it with a line-shot homer to right in the fifth.

"That was good for Victor and great for us," said Wedge. "He put a good swing on that ball."

Broussard's two-run triple keyed a four-run first that put Cleveland ahead 4-1.

Martinez snapped an 0-for-16 slump with an RBI single and Broussard followed with a drive that carried over the head of Everett, who stumbled into the wall trying to make the catch. Two runs scored before center fielder Aaron Rowand could retrieve the ball and keep Broussard from an inside-the-park homer.

Team trainer Herm Schneider attended to Everett for several minutes before Guillen sent Timo Perez into the game as a replacement. Everett slowly walked off the field by himself.

Everett's sacrifice fly put Chicago ahead 1-0 in the first.

Hernandez gave up five runs and eight hits over five-plus innings. The right-hander struck out one and walked four.

Elarton allowed five runs and nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

Notes

  • Chicago OF Scott Podsednik missed his second game with a strained right groin.
  • Betancourt retired the first 18 batters he faced this season before walking Uribe in the sixth. He then retired the next five men he faced.
  • Hernandez is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in seven April starts since 2002.
  • Rowand went 3-for-5 and is 4-for-7 after an 0-for-9 streak.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Alex Cora gets the job done on defense and offense, including the go-ahead single in the sixth.    (AP)
Alex Cora gets the job done on defense and offense, including the go-ahead single in the sixth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

T. Hafner
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Cleveland

V. Martinez
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Chicago White Sox
Willie Harris, 2B3221100 .400
   a- Pablo Ozuna, PH-2B1000000 .167
Ross Gload, 1B4010012 .200
   b- Tadahito Iguchi, PH1000002 .286
    Chris Widger, 1B0000000 .333
Carl Everett, LF0001000 .367
    Timo Perez, LF3100110 .200
Paul Konerko, DH5113001 .235
Jermaine Dye, RF5020001 .219
Aaron Rowand, CF5030001 .229
A.J. Pierzynski, C4000014 .226
Joe Crede, 3B4110011 .226
Juan Uribe, SS3120101 .192
Totals3861253413 
a-grounded out for Willie Harris in the 8th
b-popped out for Gload in the 8th
Batting
2B - Juan Uribe 2 (2, Elarton, Rhodes)
HR - Paul Konerko (4, Elarton)
SF - Carl Everett (3)
RBI - Willie Harris (1), Carl Everett (9), Paul Konerko 3 (9)
SB - Willie Harris (1, 2nd base off Elarton/Martinez)
PK - Willie Harris (1, Elarton)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Hernandez-Willie Harris-Gload
E - Juan Uribe (2, misplayed grounder)
Chicago White Sox
Orlando Hernandez (L,1-1) 5864411 3.75
Neal Cotts 2222230 8.10
Cliff Politte 1000120 2.45
IBB - Martinez by Cliff Politte
HBP - Cora (by Cliff Politte)
WP - Neal Cotts (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Orlando Hernandez 97-54, Neal Cotts 38-24, Cliff Politte 24-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Orlando Hernandez 10-4, Neal Cotts 2-1
Batters Faced - Orlando Hernandez 27, Neal Cotts 10, Cliff Politte 5
Cleveland Indians
Coco Crisp, LF4220101 .275
Alex Cora, 2B4111012 .273
Travis Hafner, DH5122001 .276
Victor Martinez, C4222112 .188
Ben Broussard, 1B4112123 .233
Aaron Boone, 3B2001213 .121
Grady Sizemore, CF4010003 .241
Jose Hernandez, RF3010005 .231
    Ryan Ludwick, RF0000100 .000
Jhonny Peralta, SS3100112 .235
Totals3381087622 
Batting
2B - Coco Crisp (1, Hernandez), Travis Hafner 2 (4, Hernandez, Cotts), Grady Sizemore (2, Hernandez)
3B - Ben Broussard (2, Hernandez)
HR - Victor Martinez (1, Hernandez)
SF - Aaron Boone (1)
RBI - Alex Cora (1), Travis Hafner 2 (4), Victor Martinez 2 (4), Ben Broussard 2 (4), Aaron Boone (7)
SB - Alex Cora (2, 2nd base off Politte/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Ben Broussard (2, missed catch)
Cleveland Indians
Scott Elarton 4.2955241 6.30
Scott Sauerbeck 0.1000000 5.40
Rafael Betancourt (W,1-0) 2000100 0.00
Arthur Rhodes (H,3) 1210000 0.00
Bob Wickman (S,3) 1100000 10.38
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Elarton 81-57, Scott Sauerbeck 5-3, Rafael Betancourt 33-20, Arthur Rhodes 19-13, Bob Wickman 22-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Elarton 1-8, Rafael Betancourt 4-2, Arthur Rhodes 2-2, Bob Wickman 2-1
Batters Faced - Scott Elarton 24, Scott Sauerbeck 1, Rafael Betancourt 7, Arthur Rhodes 6, Bob Wickman 4
Game Information
Attendance - 12470
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 47
Umpires - Home - Joe Brinkman, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Jeff Nelson, Third Base - Bill Miller