They didn't exactly hit the cover off the ball against a pitcher who came into the game with an ERA of 11.77, but the White Sox will take any offense they can get.
After wasting a Jon Garland gem last week, the Sox scored just enough to give Garland the victory Tuesday night in a 4-2 decision over the Indians.
"Offensively, we could do better," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Those four runs were huge."
And they were all Garland (3-2) needed on a night when he allowed just one run in seven innings while striking out six hitters and walking only one.
It's the sixth time in eight starts that Garland has lasted into the seventh inning. His ERA dropped to 3.62.
"I was just making quality pitches," Garland said. "It feels like I'm taking good stuff into every game. If you're not making quality pitches, you're going to get hurt."
The Indians got to Garland just once, and Garland limited the damage with a double-play ball that scored Travis Hafner in the second inning to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead.
After managing just one hit off Chad Durbin--making only his second start of the season--in the first three innings, the Sox put all their offense together in the fourth.
Frank Thomas got the inning started with a one-out double. A walk to Carlos Lee and Jose Valentin's single loaded the bases for Paul Konerko.
Konerko, who had a seeing-eye single for the team's only hit in the first three innings, ripped a single to score Thomas and Lee.
After a Joe Crede flyout, Miguel Olivo singled home Valentin, and Willie Harris followed with a single to score Konerko.
"We strung together some good at-bats," Konerko said.
That was the end of Durbin and the end of the Sox's offense for the night. After the fourth inning, they managed just one hit, by Lee, against four Indians relievers. Lee was promptly picked off.
"We should be better than this," Guillen said.
But they didn't need to be as Garland shut down a Cleveland team that had won five in a row.
"They're hot," Garland said. "They're probably the best hitting team in baseball now."
The Indians came into the game second in the American League with a .287 average and second in runs scored with 213.
"We felt comfortable the whole night," Konerko said. "It seemed like [Garland] was in total control."
The only time Garland was in trouble after the second inning was in the sixth, when Cleveland had runners on first and second with one out. But Garland struck out Victor Martinez and Hafner to end the inning.
Garland said he and Olivo were on the same page from the opening pitch. The two are starting to develop a good rapport, and Garland trusted whatever pitch Olivo would call.
"[Olivo has] a good understanding of [Cleveland's] guys," Garland said.
Damaso Marte gave up a run on two hits in the eighth to make it 4-2, but Billy Koch came on in the ninth and struck out the side for the save.
It was Koch's 18th save in a Sox uniform and only the fifth time among those 18 that he accomplished it with a perfect inning. He struck out Lou Merloni with a 95 m.p.h. fastball to end the game.
"That's the best I've seen Koch throw," Guillen said.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times