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Chi. White Sox (0-2)000010001280
Cleveland (2-0) «02002201x7100

Carmona starts '08 in '07 fashion as Indians carve up ChiSox

CBSSports.com wire reports
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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."

Asdrubal Cabrera had three hits and two RBI for Cleveland, which made the most of four walks by White Sox starter Javier Vazquez (0-1).

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.

Vazquez then walked Ryan Garko to load the bases, and the right-hander put Franklin Gutierrez on with a walk to force in a run.

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.

Notes

  • Indians C Victor Martinez (strained hamstring) said his injury isn't as bad as he first feared. He was replaced by Kelly Shoppach, who doubled in three at-bats.
  • Just call him Everyday Grady. Sizemore owns the majors' longest active consecutive games played streak. Sizemore's streak is the longest by an Indians player since Toby Harrah (473) from 1979-83.
  • Chicago's seven-man bullpen entered this season with 1,502 games of experience. The White Sox opened 2007 with relievers who had pitched in 615 games.
  • Vazquez's 1,569 strikeouts since 2000 are the second most in the majors behind Randy Johnson's 1,923.
 
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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Is Fausto Carmona a fluke? It's hard to say that after he gives up four hits in seven innings. (AP)
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
Cleveland

G. Sizemore
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
Chicago

A. Pierzynski
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Chicago White Sox
Nick Swisher, LF4000122 .250
Orlando Cabrera, SS3010202 .286
Jim Thome, DH4000014 .222
Paul Konerko, 1B1000310 .167
Jermaine Dye, RF4010014 .500
A.J. Pierzynski, C4231001 .625
Alexei Ramirez, CF4010012 .125
Joe Crede, 3B4011012 .222
Juan Uribe, 2B4010002 .250
Totals3228267  
Batting
HR - A.J. Pierzynski (1, Julio)
RBI - A.J. Pierzynski (2), Joe Crede (1)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Nick Swisher 1
Chicago White Sox
Javier Vazquez (L,0-1) 5544460 7.20
Mike MacDougal 2322320 9.00
Matt Thornton 1211000 9.00
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
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4233000 .500
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B5032003 .333
Jhonny Peralta, SS5100014 .222
Travis Hafner, DH4020121 .375
Ryan Garko, 1B4011102 .250
Franklin Gutierrez, RF3101122 .500
David Dellucci, LF2100203 .000
Casey Blake, 3B3100123 .143
Kelly Shoppach, C3110111 .400
Totals33710778  
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Blake-Peralta-Garko, Peralta-A. Cabrera-Garko, Blake-Garko
Cleveland Indians
Fausto Carmona (W,1-0) 7411440 1.29
Masahide Kobayashi 0.1200010 0.00
Rafael Perez 0.2000120 0.00
Jorge Julio 1211101 9.00
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
Game Information
Attendance - 17645
Game Time - 3:31
Temperature - 34
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Gerry Davis