Corey Kluber threw seven sharp innings and Russ Canzler went 3-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored as the Cleveland Indians continued the Chicago White Sox's late-season struggles with a 4-3 win Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Kluber (2-4) gave up back-to-back solo homers to A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo in the bottom of the fifth inning, but just two other hits as the rookie hurler notched his second career victory in his longest-ever start in the majors. The 26-year-old added four strikeouts while working around three walks.
Chris Perez served up a leadoff homer to Paul Konerko in the ninth, but worked out of a jam later on in the frame to notch his 37th save and enable Cleveland to bounce back from a 5-4 loss in Monday's opener of this three-game series, in which the Indians' bullpen coughed up a late lead.
The defeat was the sixth in seven games for the slumping White Sox, who are now tied with the Tigers for first place in the AL Central. Detroit beat Kansas City on Tuesday night.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," said Pierzynski, whose team had owned a three-game edge on Detroit just a week ago. "(The Tigers) are not going to go away. They'll keep playing hard."
Chicago starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (6-12) lasted only 3 2/3 innings and was tagged for four runs and seven hits while issuing two walks to record the loss.
Canzler finished a triple shy of the cycle to help the Indians halt a string of six consecutive setbacks to Chicago, with Shin Soo-Choo contributing two hits and an RBI to the winning effort.
Canzler gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead by starting off the top of the second inning with his second homer in as many games, and the Indians struck for three more runs in the fourth to chase Liriano and extend the margin.
After Cleveland loaded the bases with one out on a pair of walks that surrounded a Canzler double, Thomas Neal beat out a potential inning-ending double-play grounder that plated Carlos Santana for a 2-0 advantage. Ezequiel Carrera then singled to bring home Canzler and Choo ensued with an opposite- field base hit that knocked in Neal and made the score 4-0.
Chicago cut the deficit in half in the fifth, when Viciedo followed Pierzynski's 27th homer of the season with his 22nd, but Kluber would set down nine of the next 10 hitters and the final seven he faced before departing with a 4-2 lead.
"Really, I didn't try to do anything different," said Kluber of his success after allowing the two homers. "It was just, 'Don't dwell on it'. I made a couple of bad pitches and they took advantage of them."
Vinnie Pestano, who surrendered a go-ahead three-run homer to Chicago slugger Adam Dunn in the bottom of the eighth of Monday's contest, bounced back with a scoreless inning in relief of Kluber, and Perez overcame some control issues in the ninth to nail down the victory.
The All-Star closer's first pitch was deposited into the left-field seats by Konerko to pull the White Sox within 4-3, and pinch-hitter Dan Johnson and Alexei Ramirez each drew two-out walks to put the tying run into scoring position.
Perez did bear down, however, and got Gordon Beckham to bounce into a game- ending fielder's choice.
The game was moved up from an original 8:10 p.m. (ET) start time in part to allow White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who is Jewish, to play prior to the observance of Yom Kippur at sundown ... Liriano now has a 9.11 ERA and allowed seven homers in 26 2/3 innings over eight games -- six starts -- at U.S. Cellular Field since being acquired by Chicago from Minnesota in late July ... Indians outfielder Michael Brantley sat out a second consecutive game due to a groin strain ... Pierzynski's 27 homers extended a career high and are the second-most in a season by a White Sox catcher, trailing only Carlton Fisk's 37 in 1985 ... Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis extended his hitting streak to eight games with a third-inning single.