CLEVELAND (AP) - Ubaldo Jimenez went to the mound with the lead in the seventh inning.
By the time he went back to the dugout the lead was gone and so were the Indians' chances of winning.
Jimenez (4-3) allowed three runs in the seventh before the Chicago White Sox blew the game open with three home runs in the eighth off Chad Durbin, sending Cleveland to an 8-4 loss Wednesday night.
Travis Hafner's two-run homer off Mark Buehrle gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but Brent Morel's double tied the game and Alejandro De Aza hit a tiebreaking, two-run single.
The Indians hoped they were getting a No. 1 starter when they acquired Jimenez from Colorado before the July 31 trade deadline. He was 3-1 in his last five starts going into the game and held the White Sox to one run and four hits through six innings.
``He was cruising until the seventh,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``I tried to stretch him a little bit like a top of the rotation guy and it backfired on us.'
A one-out walk to Dayan Viciedo started Jimenez's trouble. After Morel's double to left-center made it 2-2, Jimenez walked Gordon Beckham with two outs. Following a wild pitch, De Aza dropped a single into center field.
``I lost my control,' Jimenez said. ``If I didn't walk those guys, I wouldn't have had to face De Aza.'
``Walks are a jinx,' Acta said. ``He missed his location a couple of times in that inning and it hurt him.'
Jimenez wasn't pleased with the pitch to De Aza.
``I was trying to go up and in, but I left it in the middle of the plate,' Jimenez said. ``It was a mistake.'
Acta chose not to go to his overworked bullpen in the seventh in the hopes his ace could get the game to the eighth.
``You want to give him the opportunity to win the ballgame and finish that inning,' Acta said. ``He couldn't do it.'
Jimenez gave up four runs and six hits over seven innings, striking out seven. His overall record dropped to 10-12, including 6-9 with Colorado before the former NL All-Star was dealt to Cleveland for four prospects.
Mark Buehrle (12-9) gave up two runs and four hits. He had gone 0-3 with an 11.74 ERA in three previous September starts, allowing 33 hits in only 15 1-3 innings.
Buehrle's skid included a career-worst 15 hits in 6 1-3 innings in a 7-2 loss to Kansas City last Thursday. The left-hander left that start after being hit in the left arm by a line drive off the bat of Alcides Escobar.
Buehrle improved to 15-17 in 47 career games against Cleveland.
``I guess it felt good to face a team that I'm familiar with and was able to get back on track,' he said.
The White Sox pulled within a half game of second-place Cleveland in the AL Central, well behind division champion Detroit.
Tyler Flowers broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the fifth. De Aza, recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on July 27, has hit .350 (36 for 103) with 19 RBIs in his last 32 games.
Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios hit solo homers and Morel added a two-run shot in the Chicago eighth. Jason Kipnis had a sacrifice fly and Carlos Santana an RBI single in the bottom half off White Sox reliever Jason Frasor.
Buehrle needs to throw 1 2-3 innings to become the sixth pitcher since 1980 to work 200 innings or more in 11 consecutive seasons. Four of the others - Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton - are Hall of Famers. The fifth is 355-game winner Greg Maddux, a virtual lock for enshrinement once he becomes eligible in 2013.
NOTES: Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen isn't sure OF Carlos Quentin will play again this season. Quentin, out since Aug. 20 with a sore left shoulder, was activated Sept. 12, but feels soreness when taking batting practice. ... White Sox 1B Paul Konerko sat out with a stiff back. ... Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who sat out the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday with a stiff back, said he felt better and was available, but didn't play. ... Acta said RHP Josh Tomlin, despite throwing well in a simulated game Tuesday, is done for the year. Tomlin, out since Aug. 25 with a strained right elbow, had hoped to start Saturday in a doubleheader against Minnesota. With Cleveland eliminated, Acta said there is no reason to push Tomlin and that RHP Mitch Talbot, recently recalled from Triple-A Columbus, will start. Trainers pronounced Tomlin fit and expect him to be ready to return to the rotation in spring training. ... Chicago's Phil Humber (9-8) will oppose Jeanmar Gomez (4-2) in a matchup of right-handers in Chicago's final meeting this year with Cleveland on Thursday. The White Sox lead the series 11-6.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved