CLEVELAND—After battling for eight innings Monday with the smallest of margins, Freddy Garcia wanted to make sure his work was completed.
Garcia was at the edge of his dugout seat until Shingo Takatsu struck out Aaron Boone to secure the White Sox's 2-1 victory over Cleveland before 42,461 chilly fans at Jacobs Field.
"Freddy isn't about numbers. He's about winning. As long as the team wins, that's what he cares [about]."
Catcher Chris Widger made the most of his first start by hitting a two-out single in the seventh and scoring the go-ahead run. But he took more satisfaction in handling Garcia, who is 10-0 in day starts dating back to Sept. 3, 2003.
"The first [hit] is the toughest, but more important is Freddy throwing the way he did," said Widger, who played in the independent Atlantic League last year. "I play only once a week. That's my one chance to help that pitcher win that day."
Widger noticed a more mature Garcia than when he caught him in Seattle five years ago.
Instead of trying to overpower hitters with a mid-90-m.p.h. fastball and big curve, Garcia relied more on location and a strong wind that knocked down at least one potential home run, a blast in the sixth inning by Travis Hafner.
The wind was so strong that right fielder Jermaine Dye signaled for Hafner's drive, only to have center fielder Aaron Rowand make the catch well short of the warning track.
Garcia, who retired the last 14 Indians he faced, limited them to four hits and has held them to two runs in 14 innings this season. But he wasn't staked to a lead until the seventh, when consecutive hits by Widger, Joe Crede and Scott Podsednik produced the winning run off stingy Indians starter Kevin Millwood.
"You have to get used to it," said Garcia of the lack of run support, not meaning to disrespect his batters. "You have to battle so they don't score.
"For me, I concentrate more in a tight game. Sometimes you lose your concentration when you score a lot of runs."
Sox starters have posted a 2.44 ERA through the first seven games, thanks in part to Garcia, who pitched more efficiently this time against the Indians.
But the Sox barely mustered enough offense, getting all three of their wins against the Indians by one run.
"I don't know if I can take that all the way to September," Guillen joked. "But we faced some pretty good pitching staffs (against Cleveland and Minnesota). Against [Brad] Radke, [Johan] Santana and Millwood, it's not easy."
But Garcia has been just as tough in two starts against the Indians.
He received a lift from Podsednik, who threw out Ron Belliard trying to advance from first to third on Coco Crisp's single in the third for the inning's first out.
Podsednik also ignited the Sox's first run in the sixth when he popped a bunt over the head of Millwood.
"I was trying to get it to [Millwood's] left, and the pitch sunk," said Podsednik, who has at least one hit in each of his last five starts.
"Luckily, the ball got over him. That wasn't part of the plan."
Podsednik stole second and scored on a single by Carl Everett, who extended his hitting streak to six games.
That snapped a streak of 11 1/3 scoreless innings by Millwood.