Indians take down White Sox after Wedge firing
Eric Wedge added another win to his managerial resume. He'll be sending it out soon.
Hours after his expected firing was announced, Wedge enjoyed at least one more Cleveland victory as Fausto Carmona pitched seven strong innings and the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 in the first game of a season-ending doubleheader at home on Wednesday.
Wedge and his entire coaching staff were dismissed with six games left in his seventh season in Cleveland. But the dedicated Wedge, who guided the Indians to just one playoff appearance, wanted to finish what has been one of the most disappointing seasons in recent team history.
The Indians (65-92) gave him a fitting sendoff by winning the opener and improving to just 7-20 in September.
Cleveland came into the season figuring to contend for the AL Central title, but began the day just one game ahead of last-place Kansas City.
Carmona (5-12), a 19-game winner two years ago when Wedge was named the AL's top manager, allowed one run and five hits. He walked two, struck out five and finished his own miserable season on a high note.
"I feel strong about Fausto," Wedge said. "I've seen a lot of good things of him of late. His last three or four outings, there are a lot of things he has done right. He's learning less effort means more for him."
Carmona is hoping to build off his late-season success.
"I feel like I can be the guy I was in 2007," he said through first-base coach Luis Rivera, who also lost his job. "Believe it or not, I am trying to do that. I've learned a lot of good and bad. Sometimes the more I try to do I get in trouble. I have to back off a little. I can not say I had a good season, but I am looking forward to next year."
Travis Hafner homered for Cleveland. The designated hitter, whose injuries have contributed to Cleveland's slide in the standings, was pleased he could hit one on the day Wedge was let go.
"Wedge and I came to town the same year," he said. "He has taught me a lot about the game and life as well. It's been a tough day."
The White Sox were not available between games.
Cleveland jumped on Carlos Torres (1-2) for two runs in the second inning. Hafner singled and scored all the way from first when Matt LaPorta doubled into the gap in left-center. LaPorta moved up on a groundout and scored on rookie Lou Marson's sacrifice fly.
The White Sox pulled to 2-1 in the fourth when Josh Fields singled with one out and scored on a triple by DeWayne Wise. Catcher Tyler Flowers was hit in the left forearm by a pitch, but Carmona, whose mechanics were so bad earlier this season that he was sent to the Arizona Rookie League, got two quick outs to escape further damage.
Cleveland added two runs in the fourth. Hafner and LaPorta both walked and were bunted ahead by Luis Valbuena. Marson then poked a single to right to score Hafner and sent LaPorta to third. Trevor Crowe followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
Hafner made it 5-1 in the sixth with his 16th homer, a shot that just cleared the wall in center and dropped into Cleveland's bullpen.
The last time the Indians finished their home schedule with a doubleheader was in 1972 against Baltimore. ... Flowers was replaced by Ramon Castro behind the plate in the bottom half. ... Indians RHP Joe Smith had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday. He is expected to be ready when spring training opens. Smith last pitched on Aug. 29 and was placed on the disabled list Sept. 1. Smith, acquired from the New York Mets in a three-team trade in December, finished with a 3.44 ERA in 37 appearances. ... Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera left in the fifth with tightness in his hamstring and will not play in the second game.