Cleveland at Chicago

Defending champion White Sox continue to roll

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox celebrated the past. Then newcomer Jim Thome showed them the promise of a new season.

Thome hit a two-run homer after a nearly three-hour rain delay and the defending World Series champions beat the Cleveland Indians 10-4 Sunday night in the major league opener, a game that didn't end until 2:10 a.m. ET.

Thome played his first 12 seasons with the Indians before spending the last three in Philadelphia. Facing Cleveland for the first time, he drove out a long homer in a three-run fourth inning off reliever Fernando Cabrera and made his first curtain call at U.S. Cellular Field.

"It was really special against the team you played for," Thome said. "The crowd the way they showed up was great. ... I think everyone knows my history in Cleveland, very fond memories. ... It was neat. It brought back a lot of memories."

Cleveland, which chased Chicago for the AL Central title a year ago only to falter in the final week, sustained an early loss when starter C.C. Sabathia had to leave after 2 1/3 innings after he strained an abdominal muscle while delivering a pitch. He will be re-examined Monday.

"It was just the one pitch," Sabathia said. "I don't know what caused it. I threw the pitch, tried to get it on Iguchi and I just felt it grab me a little bit."

Indians manager Eric Wedge said the injury could potentially send the big left-hander to the disabled list. "It's just a matter of how bad it is," he said.

Brandon McCarthy, who replaced starter Mark Buehrle after the long delay, pitched three perfect innings for the victory.

After the two-hour, 57-minute delay, the game resumed in the bottom of the fourth and, after Cabrera (0-1) walked the first two hitters, the rain began to come down again.

Tadahito Iguchi's sacrifice fly gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead and Thome delivered a long shot to right through the rain for a three-run cushion. A.J. Pierzynski hit an RBI single and rookie Brian Anderson a two-run single in the fifth to make it 9-3 as the skies finally cleared.

World Series MVP Jermaine Dye, who got the first hit of the 2006 season with an infield roller, singled in another run in the sixth.

The attendance was announced at 38,802 -- a sellout -- and about a one-fourth of the crowd stayed around for the resumption of the game after a long wait.

But White Sox fans know how to wait -- 88 years between World Series winners.

Chicago clinched all three of its playoff series on the road last season. And despite a wild parade through the streets of the city, Sunday night presented the first chance for the White Sox and their followers to celebrate in their own ballpark.

When the final out of last October's Game 4 clincher in Houston was replayed on the large center-field scoreboard at the end of a video retrospective, four championship banners hanging beneath outfield light poles were uncovered and fireworks went off.

One banner saluted the club's World Series championships in 1906 and 1917, another was for last year's winner, a third hailed the team's AL championship and the fourth marked its division winners. After the fireworks, another video tribute followed, accompanied by Queen's "We Are The Champions."

"It was great. It was a great experience. I really enjoyed it," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I've had a lot of opening days in my life, but I think that was really special. It was the best one I've ever been in."

The fans agreed.

"It was awesome. This is really exciting," Pat Valiska of suburban Highland Park said. "We've waited a long time for this."

The ceremony also featured the unfurling of an American flag as big as the outfield during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner and then a knee-knocking flyover by two jets.

And in the bottom of the third, the White Sox looked like the team that went 11-1 in the playoffs last year, scoring three off Sabathia.

Juan Uribe walked and Anderson hit a liner to left that went off the top of Jason Michaels' glove for a double. Scott Podsednik hit an RBI grounder and Iguchi followed with an RBI single.

As he delivered that pitch to Iguchi, Sabathia felt the strain. Wedge and a trainer came out of the dugout and after Sabathia threw a couple of warmup tosses, he was forced to leave the game.

Reliever Danny Graves walked Thome and then made a wild pickoff throw to second, allowing the runners to advance. Paul Konerko then hit a sacrifice fly and it was 3-0.

But the Indians tied it quickly in the top of the fourth off Mark Buehrle on Victor Martinez's double and a towering two-run homer by Eduardo Perez, playing his first game with the Indians.

Notes

  • Thome has 431 homers, tying him for 35th place with Cal Ripken.
  • The White Sox also beat the Indians in the 2005 opener, winning 1-0 as Buehrle and Shingo Takatsu combined on a two-hitter. That game took just 1:51 to play.
 
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A.J. Pierzynski congratulates Matt Thornton, who succesfully closes out Cleveland.  (Getty Images)
A.J. Pierzynski congratulates Matt Thornton, who succesfully closes out Cleveland. (Getty Images)

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4000022
Jason Michaels, LF4010002
Jhonny Peralta, SS3011010
Travis Hafner, DH4100012
Victor Martinez, C4111010
Eduardo Perez, 1B4112000
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4010000
Aaron Boone, 3B4010001
Casey Blake, RF2110100
Totals33474157 
Batting
2B - Victor Martinez (, Buehrle), Casey Blake (, Politte)
HR - Eduardo Perez (, Buehrle)
SF - Jhonny Peralta ()
RBI - Jhonny Peralta (), Victor Martinez (), Eduardo Perez 2 ()
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Michaels 1
DP - Michaels-Perez, A. Boone-Belliard-Perez
E - Casey Blake (, Misplayed grounder), Danny Graves (, Wild pickoff attempt)
Cleveland Indians
C.C. Sabathia 2.1333130
Danny Graves 0.2100200
Fernando Cabrera (L,-) 1266401
Matt Miller 2311200
Scott Sauerbeck 1000010
Rafael Betancourt 1000010
HBP - Mackowiak (by Scott Sauerbeck)
Pitches-Strikes - C.C. Sabathia 36-23, Danny Graves 22-10, Fernando Cabrera 37-17, Matt Miller 28-16, Scott Sauerbeck 14-8, Rafael Betancourt 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C.C. Sabathia 2-2, Danny Graves 1-1, Matt Miller 3-1
Batters Faced - C.C. Sabathia 11, Danny Graves 5, Fernando Cabrera 9, Matt Miller 9, Scott Sauerbeck 4, Rafael Betancourt 3
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF4001012
    Rob Mackowiak, LF0000000
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B3212101
Jim Thome, DH2112200
   a- Alex Cintron, PH-DH1000010
Paul Konerko, 1B4001011
Jermaine Dye, RF3131100
   b- Ross Gload, PH-RF1000000
A.J. Pierzynski, C3121101
Joe Crede, 3B3100116
Juan Uribe, SS2200200
Brian Anderson, CF3222110
Totals29109109511 
a-struck out for Thome in the 8th
b-flied out for Dye in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brian Anderson (, Sabathia)
HR - Jim Thome (, Cabrera)
SF - Tadahito Iguchi (), Paul Konerko ()
RBI - Scott Podsednik (), Tadahito Iguchi 2 (), Jim Thome 2 (), Paul Konerko (), Jermaine Dye (), A.J. Pierzynski (), Brian Anderson 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Jim Thome 2 (), Jermaine Dye ()
SB - Jermaine Dye (, 2nd base off Cabrera/Martinez), Brian Anderson (, 2nd base off Cabrera/Martinez)
Team LOB - 7
Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle 4433111
Brandon McCarthy (W,-) 3000020
Cliff Politte 0.2211010
Matt Thornton 1.1100010
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 57-37, Brandon McCarthy 48-30, Cliff Politte 20-11, Matt Thornton 28-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 8-3, Brandon McCarthy 3-4, Matt Thornton 1-2
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 17, Brandon McCarthy 9, Cliff Politte 4, Matt Thornton 5
Game Information
Attendance - 38802
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 57
Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Terry Craft, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Ron Kulpa