The Cleveland Indians kept the pressure on American League East leaders Detroit on Thursday, moving to within one-and-a-half-games with a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field.
The victory sets the stage for a key three-game series between the Indians and Tigers this weekend in Detroit.
“This was a much-needed series. We wanted to take this final game,” said Indians starter Justin Masterson, who won his 10th game of the season to seal Cleveland’s 2-1 series win.
“That’s been our motto — win each series,” Masterson added after allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out two in six innings.
Paul Konerko hit a solo home run in the third inning to give Chicago the lead, before a two-run blast by Matt LaPorta in the fourth inning put the Indians up 2-1.
Chicago responded with a run in the bottom of the inning, but Cleveland went ahead again in the sixth on an RBI triple from Kosuke Fukudome, who later scored on a bases-loaded walk to cap the scoring at 4-2.
Chicago threatened again in the eighth inning, loading the bases with two outs, but Gordon Beckham struck out. Chicago stranded 10 runners on base.
Cleveland also had trouble scoring runners, stranding 11, and left the bases loaded in the second and sixth innings.
White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber left the game in the second inning after being hit above the right eye by a line drive off the bat of Fukudome. He was replaced by Zach Stewart.