CLEVELAND - Jose Contreras got a rare road win as the right-hander, shipped to the minors earlier this season, pitched eight superb innings, and the Chicago White Sox won their fifth straight, 6-2 over the lethargic Cleveland Indians last night.
Contreras (3-7) improved to 3-2 with a 2.17 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte, a month-long demotion prompted by the 37-year-old opening the season 0-5. The right-hander, who was just 1-6 in his previous 10 road starts, had little trouble with the Indians.
Contreras allowed two runs and five hits, pitching into the eighth for the fourth time since being recalled. He struck out eight and walked one.
Cleveland has dropped five in a row and 13 of 15, and the Indians' slide into obscurity shows no signs of ending anytime soon.
Chicago backup catcher Ramon Castro hit a three-run homer off Jeremy Sowers (2-6) in a four-run sixth as the White Sox improved to 12-4 since June 13 to move within three games of first-place Detroit.
The White Sox completed their first three-game sweep of Cleveland since the final weekend of the 2005 season, when they knocked the Indians out of the playoff race.
Sowers ran into a familiar problem in the sixth inning: the sixth inning.
The left-hander has had trouble getting outs his third time through a lineup and the White Sox tagged him for four runs and five hits to open a 5-1 lead.
Jim Thome and Paul Konerko hit consecutive singles before Castro, batting .105 since being acquired from the New York Mets in May, drove Sowers' first pitch over the fence in right to make it 4-1. Jayson Nix followed with a double and scored on Gordon Beckham's single.
Cleveland closed within 5-2 in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Victor Martinez and Shin Soo-Choo.
They took their first lead of the series in the second, but missed a chance to have a big inning against Contreras.
Jamey Carroll singled and Ben Francisco, in a 4-for-37 slide, doubled to put runners at second and third with nobody out. However, Contreras struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and gave up Grady Sizemore's RBI groundout before retiring Martinez on a fly ball to left.
NOTES: Thome recorded his 1,600th walk, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Stan Musial for 12th on the career list. ... The Indians received favorable reports on RHP Fausto Carmona, and the club has been encouraged by his progress.