CLEVELAND (AP) - For four games, the Cleveland Indians had trouble hitting when it mattered.
On Wednesday, the offense had its most productive game of the young season, but the rest of the team faltered in a 10-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The Indians ended their first homestand with a 1-4 record, which included a 16-innning loss on opening day and a defeat in 12 innings the following game. Cleveland, which had scored 14 runs and batted .153 in its first four games, begins a nine-game trip Friday in Kansas City.
``The homestand could have gone a little better, even when we struggled so bad offensively,' manager Manny Acta said. ``We put ourselves in a position to win a couple of games and things just didn't work out.'
Although the Indians' poor play in spring training has carried over into the season, Acta thinks it's too early to consider personnel changes.
``Five games is not going to make me panic about my bullpen, my offense, defense or anything like that,' Acta said. ``We have to give it a little more time.'
Jason Masterson, coming off a dominant outing against Toronto in the season opener, gave up four runs in the first. An error by third baseman Jack Hannahan made one of the runs unearned. A fifth-inning error by first baseman Casey Kotchman helped the White Sox score another unearned run.
The bullpen only added to the trouble. Relievers Dan Wheeler and Rafael Perez gave up home runs in the sixth to turn a 5-4 deficit into a six-run game.
``We swung the bats better, but we didn't pitch well enough or play good enough defense,' Acta said.
If not for Chris Perez's ninth-inning meltdown in the opener, Masterson would have been the winning pitcher. The Indians' best starter last season held Toronto to one run in eight innings, and that came on Jose Bautista's home run.
Masterson (0-1) ran into problems immediately against Chicago. After Alejandro De Aza started the game with a single, Hannahan's throw to first on Brent Morel's bunt was wide. A run-scoring single by Adam Dunn and an RBI double by Paul Konerko followed. Masterson's wild pitch added another run before A.J. Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly.
``Masterson was a little inconsistent with his command, but he threw the ball well,' Acta said. ``We didn't play good defense behind him in the first inning that really hurt us.'
Masterson then held Chicago scoreless until the fifth. Kotchman dropped shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera's throw on Moriel's grounder. Dunn singled and Konerko's RBI single added another unearned run.
Masterson was charged with five runs (three earned) and eight hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked one.
``I didn't totally know where the ball was going early on,' he said. ``I kind of settled down and worked through it.'
Thanks to Travis Hafner, the Indians managed to get back in the game. He hit a solo homer in the fourth and followed with a two-run double in the fifth, but any idea of a comeback win ended in the top of the sixth.
Wheeler gave up a two-run homer to De Aza before Perez allowed A.J. Pierzynski's three-run blast.
Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
Cabrera reached in the first when his routine pop to right-center fell safely among three fielders for a double, then scored on a wild pitch. Hafner hit a 433-foot solo homer into the right-field second deck in the fourth, his first home run of the season.
John Danks (1-1) gave up four runs, seven hits and five walks in 5 2-3 innings.
``I needed every one of those runs,' he said. ``It felt great to get them, especially against Masterson because he's one of the best.'
NOTES: Jeanmar Gomez, the Indians' fifth starter who was skipped over in the rotation when Tuesday night's game was postponed, made his season debut by pitching two perfect innings of relief, striking out three. He's scheduled to start Saturday. ... Kotchman committed only his 12th error in 730 games at first base. ... Cleveland has eight homers by seven players in five games. ... The Indians' trip includes stops at Seattle and Oakland.
The Associated Press News Service
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