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Indians 7, White Sox 3

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CHICAGO (AP)

Luis Valbuena had a a big zero in the home-run column, and it was bothering him.

He can rest easy now.

Valbuena connected for a solo shot and Ubaldo Jimenez threw six effective innings, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Valbuena also 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.

''I feel good because I was working all day in the cage and made an adjustment,'' Valbuena said.

Valbuena drove an 0-2 pitch from Will Ohman over the wall in right in the sixth, making it 4-2 Tribe. It was Valbuena's first extra-base hit and RBI this season. He entered the game just 5 for 34 on the season at the big league level despite hitting .302 in 113 games for Triple-A Columbus.

''He's tough to read because he's never looked overmatched, but the numbers don't add up,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ''He was our best hitter in Triple-A the whole year. ... Today he had a very good day. I'm happy for Luis because he's had enough hard times up here the last two years.''

Valbuena especially enjoyed his first major league homer since April 16, 2010.

''I'm so happy because I don't want to see the zero there,'' Valbuena said.

Crowe entered the game hitless in seven at-bats. After starting 106 games in the outfield for Cleveland in 2010, Crowe had shoulder surgery on March 30 and was activated on Wednesday.

''It was good to see him do that,'' Acta said. ''He spent the whole season basically in Arizona rehabbing. ... It's nice to see him have some success so he'll have some confidence going forward.''

Despite the slow start since his return, Crowe felt he was about to break through.

''I felt like for the amount of time off, I was seeing the ball really well and it was only a matter of time before I started making some solid contact,'' Crowe said.

Jimenez (3-2) issued five walks, but 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,'' Jimenez said. ''I only had a couple of innings (when) I couldn't find the strike zone. I think I was trying to throw too many breaking balls and couldn't control them.''

While his command was shaky, Jimenez reached the upper 90s with his fastball, important for a pitcher who has struggled with inconsistent velocity this season.

''When I got to the fifth inning, I (thought the fastball) was my best pitch today,'' Jimenez said.

White Sox starter Zach Stewart (2-4) yielded three runs and seven hits over five innings in his first outing since he tossed a one-hitter at Minnesota last Monday.

''I wasn't hitting spots like I was last outing, like I should have been,'' Stewart 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.''

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.

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 Gordon Beckham on a grounder to third to escape the threat.

The White Sox also left the bases full four times on Saturday.

''Well, you know we continue to leave people on base,'' White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. ''Jimenez throw 100 pitches. I never see a guy throw 100 pitches and only (allow) two runs.''

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.

The Indians earned a split in the four-game series between teams chasing Detroit in the AL Central. The Tigers won their ninth in a row Sunday and lead Chicago by 10 1/2 games and Cleveland by 11. ''We played right into the Tigers' hands basically,'' Acta said. ''That what we did this series, kill each other while they continue to win.''

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. 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 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.

Tagged: White Sox, Indians, Jim Thome, Will Ohman, Jake Peavy, Ubaldo Jimenez, Trevor Crowe, Alejandro De Aza, Luis Valbuena, Tigers, Rangers, Matt Thornton, Matt Harrison

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