CHICAGO (AP) - Cleveland Indians pitchers David Huff, Frank Herrmann and Josh Judy all learned valuable lessons about keeping the ball down.
Brent Morel hit two homers and Paul Konerko had a grand slam, lifting the Chicago White Sox to an 8-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.
Morel hit a solo shot off starter Huff (2-4) in the third and a three-run homer off Herrmann in the seventh - both on the first pitch. It was Morel's first career multi-homer game and his four RBIs were a career-high.
``I came in and tried to get ahead of the guy and left a pitch out over the plate and he got on top of it,' Herrmann said.
Konerko's grand slam came off Judy and capped Chicago's seven-run seventh.
``I was just trying to throw a slider away and I ended up hanging it,' Judy said. ``Hats off to Konerko. I made a mistake and he took it deep.'
Konerko said he wasn't looking for a particular pitch.
``I was just trying to get the ball up and get something out to the outfield,' Konerko said. ``Just one of those, he threw and I hit. You don't really know what you did.'
Huff gave up three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out five, as the Indians lost their fourth straight.
``You leave the ball up and these guys are going to hit it out,' Huff said. ``I told (Herrmann) to keep his head up and you'll probably be in there tomorrow or the next day and be ready to go.'
Gavin Floyd struck out four and held Cleveland to one run and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. Matt Thornton (1-4) retired all four batters he faced, striking out three.
``We couldn't get anything going offensively,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``We don't match up very good against Floyd. He's had a lot of success against us this season. And their bullpen came in and shut us down.'
Both clubs were recently swept by first-place Detroit, giving the Tigers a commanding lead in the AL Central and virtually reducing this weekend's series into a battle for second place.
Putting a further damper on a matchup that had lost its once-anticipated luster, a misty rain began to blow across the field during the top of the third and fell for much of the game.
The small, subdued crowd at U.S. Cellular Field saved its biggest cheers for Cleveland's Jim Thome, whose RBI single in the first scored Asdrubal Cabrera for the game's first run.
The White Sox honored Thome in a ceremony before the game in recognition of his 600th career homer, which he hit on Aug. 15. Thome, who played for Chicago from 2006 to 2009, also received a standing ovation before his first plate appearance.
Morel tied the game with a homer to left-center in the bottom of third.
Later in the inning, Juan Pierre singled for his 2,000th career hit, also earning a nice ovation as he tipped his cap. Pierre, 34, became the 268th big-leaguer to reach the milestone.
Despite holding the Indians to one run, Floyd fell behind a number of hitters working from a slippery mound, running up his pitch count. At one point in the sixth, he requested that the field crew come out and apply sand around the pitching rubber.
Floyd departed after throwing 112 pitches, giving way to Will Ohman, who got Thome on an inning-ending grounder with a runner on first.
Huff pitched into the seventh, when he allowed a walk and a single to begin the inning. He struck out Tyler Flowers before giving way to Herrmann. Morel hammered his first pitch into the left-field bleachers.
``For Dave's sake, the team, everybody, I wanted to come in there and get a double play, or get out of the inning for us,' Herrmann said. ``I thought Huff pitched great. He definitely deserved a better fate. It's definitely disappointing for me.'
Herrmann allowed a walk and a single before being replaced by Josh Judy, who hit Brent Lillibridge with a pitch and gave up Konerko's grand slam. The White Sox scored seven runs on just four hits in the inning.
NOTES: Cleveland rookie 2B Jason Kipnis, a Northbrook, Ill., native, singled in his first big-league game in his hometown. He was injured the last time the Indians were in Chicago. ... Indians manager Manny Acta said 1B Matt LaPorta would likely be back with the club in the ``next couple of days.' The former first-round pick was sent to Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 29 after struggling to a .238 average in 97 games. ... Cleveland's Jeanmar Gomez will square off against Chicago's Mark Buehrle on Friday. Buehrle allowed a season-high eight runs in his last outing.
The Associated Press News Service
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