|Chi. White Sox (0-2)||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||2||8||0|
|Cleveland (2-0) «||0||2||0||0||2||2||0||1||x||7||10||0|
CLEVELAND -- Fausto Carmona went from bug bites to goosebumps.
On the same mound where he fought off swarming insects during last season's AL playoffs, Carmona pitched seven strong innings in his season debut and Grady Sizemore had three RBI to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 7-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
With his signature sinker dipping and dancing away from Chicago's hitters, Carmona allowed one run and four singles. He got 16 of his 21 outs on grounders, struck out four and kept Jim Thome in the park, something Indians' ace C.C. Sabathia couldn't do in the opener when Chicago's DH homered twice.
It was Carmona's first start in Cleveland since Oct. 5, when Game 2 of the division series against New York became a permanent part of baseball lore as tiny, flying critters known as midges swarmed the playing field -- and Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain.
Conditions were far different this time as the temperature dropped into the 20s.
So, Fausto, which was tougher -- the cold or the bugs?
"That's a tough question," said the Dominican, who didn't seem to be bothered by the chill, pitching in short sleeves.
Carmona's sinker was equally puzzling for the White Sox, who continually pounded his pitches into the dirt and grass.
"He kept all his pitches down in the zone," said Nick Swisher, who went 0-for-3 and struck out once against Carmona. "When a guy like that is throwing 94 miles an hour and his pitches are moving like two feet, that's tough."
Thome, who hit a pair of two-run homers off Sabathia on Monday, grounded into two of Chicago's three double plays and flied to right -- the only fair ball hit into the air against Carmona.
From his center-field vantage point, Sizemore could tell Carmona's sinker was special.
"It's pretty good," he said. "Sometimes you think it's a changeup, and you look up (at the scoreboard) and it's 93 mph. He was tough."
With Carmona keeping the ball on the ground, Sizemore did whatever it took to stay warm.
"You just run around in circles," he said. "Do jumping jacks, anything you can do to stay warm."
The Indians are 2-0 for the second straight year. It's the first time they've opened consecutive seasons with two wins since 1954-55.
A.J. Pierzynski homered in the ninth for the White Sox.
Carmona's breakout in '07 helped the Indians win the AL Central and beat the New York Yankees in the playoffs. However, with a chance to put away the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, he lasted just two innings in a Game 6 meltdown, one of the only times he didn't deliver all year.
The Indians are counting on the 24-year-old to come through again.
Because of the cold, Carmona said he struggled with his grip. But you wouldn't have known it with the way his ball moved.
"I threw the sinker for strikes. I threw the slider for strikes. I threw the change-up for strikes," he said through an interpreter.
Carmona was replaced in the eighth by Japanese free agent Masa Kobayashi, who faced just three batters in his major league debut before being pulled. Rafael Perez came in, struck out Thome, walked Paul Konerko to load the bases and then fanned Jermaine Dye.
Vazquez's wildness helped Cleveland score twice in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
Sizemore, baseball's current Ironman playing in his 360th straight game, tripled and scored on Cabrera's single to make it 3-1. Jhonny Peralta reached on a fielder's choice and Travis Hafner singled him to third.
With help from Cleveland's infield, Carmona kept Thome under wraps.
The Indians shifted their infield to the right, with third baseman Casey Blake moving to shortstop and Peralta sliding to second. In the first, Thome grounded to Blake who started a rare 5-6-3 double play. Then, with a runner at first in the fourth, Thome grounded to Blake, who stepped on the bag and threw to first.
|Is Fausto Carmona a fluke? It's hard to say that after he gives up four hits in seven innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Chicago White Sox|
|Nick Swisher, LF||4||0||0||0||1||2||2||.250|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||3||0||1||0||2||0||2||.286|
|Jim Thome, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.222|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||1||0||0||0||3||1||0||.167|
|Jermaine Dye, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||4||.500|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||4||2||3||1||0||0||1||.625|
|Alexei Ramirez, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.125|
|Joe Crede, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||1||2||.222|
|Juan Uribe, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.250|
|HR - A.J. Pierzynski (1, Julio)|
|RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (2), Joe Crede (1)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Nick Swisher 1|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Javier Vazquez (L,0-1)||5||5||4||4||4||6||0||7.20|
|IBB - Hafner by Mike MacDougal|
|HBP - Gutierrez (by Javier Vazquez), Sizemore (by Matt Thornton)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 103-61, Mike MacDougal 48-25, Matt Thornton 18-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 4-5, Mike MacDougal 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 25, Mike MacDougal 11, Matt Thornton 6|
|Grady Sizemore, CF||4||2||3||3||0||0||0||.500|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B||5||0||3||2||0||0||3||.333|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||5||1||0||0||0||1||4||.222|
|Travis Hafner, DH||4||0||2||0||1||2||1||.375|
|Ryan Garko, 1B||4||0||1||1||1||0||2||.250|
|Franklin Gutierrez, RF||3||1||0||1||1||2||2||.500|
|David Dellucci, LF||2||1||0||0||2||0||3||.000|
|Casey Blake, 3B||3||1||0||0||1||2||3||.143|
|Kelly Shoppach, C||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.400|
|2B - Asdrubal Cabrera (1, Vazquez), Kelly Shoppach (1, MacDougal)|
|3B - Grady Sizemore (1, Vazquez)|
|RBI - Grady Sizemore 3 (4), Asdrubal Cabrera 2 (3), Ryan Garko (1), Franklin Gutierrez (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore 2 (3), Ryan Garko (1), Franklin Gutierrez (1)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Blake-Peralta-Garko, Peralta-A. Cabrera-Garko, Blake-Garko|
|Fausto Carmona (W,1-0)||7||4||1||1||4||4||0||1.29|
|WP - Fausto Carmona (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Fausto Carmona 108-61, Masahide Kobayashi 17-10, Rafael Perez 19-9, Jorge Julio 29-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Fausto Carmona 13-1, Jorge Julio 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Fausto Carmona 26, Masahide Kobayashi 3, Rafael Perez 3, Jorge Julio 6|
|Attendance - 17645|
|Game Time - 3:31|
|Temperature - 34|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Gerry Davis|