CHICAGO (AP) — In spite of high expectations, Dayan Viciedo continues to impress the Chicago White Sox.
The highly touted hitter showed off a new tool — his arm — in Chicago’s 7-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
With the White Sox trailing 4-2 in the sixth, Viciedo gunned down Trevor Crowe trying to score on a sac fly.
Viciedo’s throw sailed a little high, but catcher A.J. Pierzynski was able to haul it in and apply the tag, giving Viciedo his first career outfiedl assist.
“A lot of people are going to be running on him because they don’t’ know him,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He’s got a good arm. The throw was pretty good, A.J. made a pretty good tag. It was a good play.”
Viciedo’s emergence as a legitimate outfield option is important to the White Sox because his sub-par infield defense — four errors in 39 total chances at third base in 2010 — impeded his major league hopes.
The 22-year-old Cuban switched from the infield to the outfield in spring training and was one of Chicago’s outstanding performers before a fractured thumb derailed his hopes of leaving camp with the team.
“Since spring training, he’s been very good,” Guillen said. “(Roving outfield instructor) Daryl Boston has been working with him in the minor leagues to make him better. I think he feels very comfortable in the outfield. … He’s going to get better.”
Coming off a one-hitter against Minnesota in his last outing, Zach Stewart took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits over five innings of work.
Stewart (2-4) retired the first five batters of the game, but was touched for three two-out runs in the second inning.
“I wasn’t hitting spots like I was last outing,” he said. “I missed some spots. Some of my breaking balls weren’t as sharp, I left them over the plate and got hit around a little bit.”
Ubaldo Jimenez threw six effective innings for the Indians. Despite issuing five walks, Jimenez (3-2) allowed just two runs and three hits. The right-hander, who was acquired from Colorado before the July 31 trade deadline, struck out two and improved to 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA over his last four outings.
“I felt good out there,” said Jimenez, who was battered for five runs on nine hits in 4 2-3 innings the last time he faced Chicago. “I only had a couple of innings I couldn’t find the strike zone. I think I was trying to throw too many breaking balls and couldn’t control them.”
Luis Valbuena homered, singled twice and scored two runs as the Indians collected 14 hits. Trevor Crowe had three singles, and Jason Donald and Lonnie Chisenhall added two hits apiece.
The Indians broke it open with three runs in the eighth against Matt Thornton. Donald drove in a run with an infield hit and Carlos Santana lashed a two-run double to right.
Alejandro De Aza went 2 for 3, scored two runs and stole two bases for Chicago. Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez each singled twice and drove in a run.
De Aza sparked a two-run third with a leadoff single. He stole second and third, then scored on Gordon Beckham’s fielder’s choice. Beckham eventually came around on Ramirez’s fielder’s choice, trimming the Indians’ lead to 3-2.
Beckham has driven in runs in consecutive games for the first time since he had RBIs in five straight outings sandwiched around the All-Star break.
Jimenez walked the bases full in the fourth, the last of the free passes issued to Brent Morel, who has drawn seven of his 14 walks this season since Sept. 1. Jimenez got Beckham on a grounder to third to escape the threat.
The White Sox also left the bases full four times on Saturday. Valbuena hit a solo drive off Will Ohman in the sixth, giving Cleveland a 4-2 lead. It was his first extra-base hit and RBI this season.
Notes: White Sox RHP Jake Peavy will not pitch again this season. The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner will rest in an effort to come back at full strength in 2012. Peavy had shoulder surgery last season. Rookie Dylan Axelrod will start in Peavy’s place on Wednesday. … The Indians activated DH Travis Hafner (strained right foot) from the disabled list. Manager Manny Acta said Hafner will split time at DH with Jim Thome for the remainder of the season. … The White Sox will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive when they open a three-game series against AL Central-leading Detroit at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday. Rick Porcello will face Chicago’s John Danks in the opener. … The Indians’ 10-game trip continues with a stop in Texas on Monday for the opener of a three-game set. Justin Masterson will start for Cleveland against Matt Harrison.
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