Late Cleveland surge sinks Sox in opener



By Tom Withers

CLEVELAND – Their ballpark may have a new name. Little else changed about the Cleveland Indians.

The defending AL Central champions won in familiar fashion at Progressive Field – home to so much late-inning drama when it was called Jacobs Field for the past 14 years. Casey Blake hit a three-run double in the eighth inning Monday to give the Indians a 10-8 season-opening win over the Chicago White Sox.

It may not be known as the Jake anymore, but everything else seemed in place for the Indians, who won 23 times in their final at-bat last season.

With the score 7-7, Kelly Shoppach and Jhonny Peralta opened the eighth with singles off Octavio Dotel (0-1), who bounced back and got two quick outs. Franklin Gutierrez, who hit a three-run homer in Cleveland’s seven-run second, walked to load the bases.

Blake followed with a shot high off the 19-foot-high wall in left, starting a new chapter of memories for Indians fans, who have resisted the ballpark’s new corporate moniker.

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    Unlike last year, when a blizzard wiped out the home opener and Cleveland’s first homestand, the game was played in unexpected 60-degree temperatures but a strong tail wind that helped the teams combine for five homers, including a pair of two-run drives by Chicago’s Jim Thome off reigning AL Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia.

    Jermaine Dye homered in the ninth off Cleveland closer Joe Borowski, last year’s AL saves leader who once again had pulses racing before retiring Joe Crede on a foul pop to get the save for winner Rafael Betancourt.

    Consecutive controversial calls went against the White Sox in the eighth, preventing them from going ahead.

    It started with a double by Crede who was held at third on Juan Uribe’s hard-hit double to left-center off Betancourt.

    After an intentional walk, Orlando Cabrera bounced to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, whose high throw home pulled catcher Kelly Shoppach off the plate. Shoppach, though, managed to tag Crede as he slid by.

    Crede didn’t think so, and had to be steered toward the dugout by Thome and manager Ozzie Guillen.

    Thome shattered his bat on a grounder to second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who flipped to Peralta. After stepping on the bag for one out, Peralta was making his throw to first when he was grabbed on the left leg by a sliding Orlando Cabrera, who was called out for interference.

    Guillen sprinted out of his dugout for the second time in minutes to protest another call that didn’t go Chicago’s way.

    Gutierrez and Grady Sizemore homered in Cleveland’s seven-run second off Mark Buehrle.

    On their way to building a 7-2 lead, the Indians lost All-Star catcher Victor Martinez to a hamstring injury.

    Martinez, hurt in last year’s home opener, came up limping while running to second in Cleveland’s big inning, which he started with a base hit and ended with an RBI single.