CHICAGO — The slumping White Sox fell out of the American League Central lead for the first time in two months, walking 12 batters and losing to the Cleveland Indians, 6-4, Wednesday night.
Chicago had been in sole possession or tied at the top every day since July 24. But Detroit moved ahead by a game, beating Kansas City, 5-4, with a week left in the regular season.
The White Sox have lost seven of their last eight and have seven games remaining — four at home against Tampa Bay and three at Cleveland next week. They'll need to regroup in a hurry.
Shin-Soo Choo had a go-ahead RBI grounder in the seventh off Matt Thornton (4-9) and Vinny Rottino hit his first homer for Cleveland in the eighth off Brett Myers. The Indians — who are 21-50 since the All-Star break — won two of three at U.S. Cellular Field.
Lou Marson drew his third walk of the game with one out in the seventh, and after a double by Ezequiel Carrera, Choo hit an RBI grounder to first.
Alexei Ramirez’s two-out RBI double in the fifth put Chicago ahead, 4-3.
But Choo doubled to open the sixth and then the Indians drew three straight walks — the final one on a 12-pitch at-bat by Carlos Santana against reliever Nate Jones — to force in the tying run. With the bases still loaded, Thornton got Travis Hafner to hit into a 1-2-3 double play.
Tony Sipp (1-2) pitched one-third of an inning for the win and Chris Perez finished in the ninth for his 38th save in 42 chances. He issued the Indians’ sixth walk of the game, and after a throwing error by shortstop Brent Lillibridge, he retired Paul Konerko on a fly to shallow left to end it.
The White Sox scored three in the bottom of the first off Cleveland starter Justin Masterson, loading the bases on a walk and back-to-back singles by Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn. Paul Konerko drew a walk to force in a run, Alex Rios hit a sacrifice fly, and A.J. Pierzynski had an RBI double for a 3-1 lead.
Masterson lasted 4⅔ innings, giving up seven hits, four runs, and four walks.
Chicago starter Hector Santiago was in trouble throughout, struggling with his control from the outset and lasting only 3⅓ innings.
He gave up two walks and an RBI single to Russ Canzler in the first. And Cleveland got two in the fourth to tie it. After a single and two more walks loaded the bases, reliever Brian Omogrosso was greeted by Jason Kipnis’s two-run single.