Kipnis, Brantley shine, but Tribe drops slugfest

Kipnis, Brantley shine, but Tribe drops slugfest

Kipnis, Brantley shine, but Tribe drops slugfest
CHICAGO -- No one should be forced to watch Derek Lowe's debacle on Saturday afternoon twice, let alone the man who labored through it. Maybe Lowe is a glutton for punishment. He is at the very least determined to decipher what went so awry.

Shortly after his poor effort against the White Sox, Lowe re-lived his performance, pitch-by-pitch, in an effort to find some answers. The veteran sinkerballer suffered his worst outing as a member of the Indians and sent the depleted club on its way to a 14-7 drubbing at the hands of the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"Sometimes, you have to torture yourself and watch it again," Lowe said. "And I did."

All Lowe found within the footage was a pitcher fighting through a forgettable day.

"Sometimes, you're just bad," he said. "Sometimes, you just have to man up, say you're bad, you stunk, and move on."

Cleveland (26-20) plans on moving on from this one as swiftly as possible.

Lowe surrendered eight runs on 10 hits in an outing that was tied for his shortest start (2 1/3 innings) in the past three seasons. The right-hander yielded four runs in each of the first and third innings, putting the Indians in a hole too deep for their injury-riddled lineup to escape against their American League Central rivals.

Not that the Tribe didn't put up a fight.

Playing without the heart of its lineup -- shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, catcher Carlos Santana and designated hitter Travis Hafner are all sidelined with injuries -- the Tribe pounded out seven runs against White Sox righty Jake Peavy. Second baseman Jason Kipnis led the charge with his first career multihomer game and Michael Brantley added a three-run double.

"The game works in a mysterious way," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "I really thought that we were going to struggle to score runs with our lineup today. It worked the other way around."

The contest developed into an unexpected slugfest against two of the American League's toughest pitchers. Lowe (6-3) and Peavy (6-1) entered the afternoon ranked first and third, respectively, in the league in ERA. Lowe's climbed from 2.15 to 3.25 after his performance and Peavy's jumped from 2.39 to 3.07 after his showing.

Overall, the White Sox (25-22) pounded out season highs in runs (14) and hits (17), which were both season worsts for the Indians' pitching staff. Paul Konerko led Chicago's attack -- one that included a 10-for-19 showing with runners in scoring position -- by going 4-for-4 with three doubles.

The Indians' bullpen allowed six runs between the seventh and eighth innings, though a pair of errors in the seventh aided Chicago's cause.

Dayan Viciedo added three hits, including a two-run homer off Lowe in the first inning, with five RBIs and Alex Rios went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs in the game. It might have been worse, considering Rios also had a would-be three-run blast robbed by a spectacular leaping catch by center fielder Michael Brantley in the first inning.

Brantley's grab did little to stop the onslaught.

"They were hitting it all around the field," Kipnis said. "They really had some good swings on the ball. A lot of stuff was falling in for them and things were going their way. They played a good game."

Kipnis belted his team-leading seventh and eighth home runs of the season in the loss, but it was tough for the young second baseman to enjoy his banner day.

"Those home runs mean nothing if you don't get a 'W,'" he said.

Both blasts by Kipnis were two-run shots off Peavy, who surrendered five runs in the third inning to help Cleveland claw back into the ballgame. Brantley's bases-clearing double and Kipnis' first home run did the trick, pushing the Tribe to a short-lived 5-4 lead.

Five White Sox hitters and 15 pitches later, the Indians were back in an 8-5 hole.

"That was the key inning of the game, the third inning," Lowe said. "It was deflating. We were able to score five runs off a guy that's having a really good year. It's kind of like, 'OK, we're back in this thing.' And then ... "

Lowe paused.

"It was terrible," he added.

Earlier this week, the AL Central-leading Indians completed a sweep of the Tigers at home, sending the Tribe into Chicago feeling good. Over the course of the past two games, the White Sox have added plenty of insult (23 runs on 27 hits with a 15-for-30 mark with runners in scoring position) to the Tribe's injuries.

"You won't ever hear me complain," Peavy said, "beating the first-place team, a team we're trying to catch. No doubt. The boys swung the bats just outstanding off a guy who's been unbelievable up to this point."

This time around, Lowe's sinker was flat, his breaking pitches were not sharp and he labored to correct both issues.

"When you stink, you stink," Lowe said. "It was just a bad time for a really bad game. ... You just accept the fact that you pitched poorly and just understand that you have a chance in six days to do a lot better."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.