CHICAGO - Rookie Asdrubal Cabrera first got Eric Wedge's attention on paper. Now the Cleveland Indians manager gets to see him perform in person.
Cabrera hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh inning and added a sacrifice fly in the ninth to lead the Indians to a rain-delayed 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The Indians have won 14 of their last 17 games and hold a six-game lead over the second-place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.
Trailing 2-1 on a rain-soaked field just minutes after the Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 in the ninth inning on a game-winning hit by Magglio Ordonez, Kenny Lofton led off the seventh inning for Cleveland by reaching on a bunt. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Ben Francisco's single to left off White Sox starter Gavin Floyd. With two outs, Cabrera homered off reliever Mike Myers to put the Indians ahead 4-2.
"The reports were great on him all year from Double-A. In the short period of the time he was in Triple-A he had great reports too," Wedge said of the second baseman. "He has done a fantastic job. He's been in the middle of everything in the short period of time he's been here."
Cabrera extended his hitting streak to nine games and the Indians are 17-7 when he starts. He made his major league debut against the White Sox on Aug. 8., and is hitting .316.
The game was delayed by rain after the seventh inning for 2 hours and 23 minutes. It resumed just before midnight and the last two innings were played before a few hundred fans. The game ended at 12:36 a.m.
"It was a long evening, but our guys did a great job. They came out after that long delay and played some good baseball. It was great to see," Wedge said.
After going 1-10 with a 5.42 ERA last season for the Indians, Fausto Carmona (16-8) continued his spectacular season. He allowed two runs, one earned, and three hits before being forced to leave by the long delay.
With the rain coming down hard in the seventh, Indians third baseman Chris Gomez made a diving stop of Andy Gonzalez's grounder to start an inning-ending double play.
"At times I felt a little uncomfortable on the mound because sometimes when I pitched I slipped," Carmona said through a translator. "I was just trying to keep concentrating on keeping the ball down. Making sure I got on top of the ball and make them hit the ball on the ground."
Just two seasons after winning the World Series, the White Sox have lost 21 of their last 28 games and are tied with Tampa Bay for the worst record in baseball (61-83).
The White Sox had several miscues on defense after the long rain delay.
"Thank God it was only 80 (fans left) and not 40,000 because I was little embarrassed by those plays," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Gomez had a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
Gomez reached on Gonzalez's error at third base in the fifth and Grady Sizemore hit an RBI single with two outs to cut Chicago's lead to 2-1.
With the bases loaded and one out in the first, Cleveland shortstop Jhonny Peralta committed a throwing error when he tried to turn a double play on A.J. Pierzynski's grounder allowing two runs to score.
A steady rain started after the first inning, but the game wasn't delayed until the rain really picked up in the seventh. The groundskeepers worked on the field after each half inning.
Floyd (1-3) pitched 6 1-3 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, and five hits.
Floyd has gone at least six innings in his last three starts, but isn't sure if his recent performance will keep him with the White Sox next season.
"I don't know. Your guess is good as mine. I hope so," he said.