CLEVELAND – Fausto Carmona dug the hole. The Cleveland Indians fell in.
Making his first opening-day start, Carmona was rocked by Chicago for 10 runs in three innings, and the Indians fell behind by 14 before scrapping back and losing 15-10 in their home opener on Friday to the reloaded White Sox, who splurged during the offseason in an attempt to win the American League Central.
Carlos Santana went 3-for-5 and hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who paid tribute to late Hall of Famer Bob Feller before the game.
“We made it interesting at the end,” designated hitter Travis Hafner said. “That’s the mentality of this team; to keep fighting no matter the situation. This team is going to play with energy. I was really proud of the way the guys battled back. Fausto is one of the best pitchers in the league, and he’ll bounce back.”
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Chicago built a 14-0 lead after four innings for starter Mark Buehrle (1-0) and roughed up Carmona (0-1).
Quentin and Dunn each hit two-run homers in the third, and the White Sox added eight runs in the fourth, when Indians manager Manny Acta mercifully pulled Carmona.
“Maybe I was overthrowing some pitches and I could not get them down,” Carmona said.
The support was more than enough for Buehrle, who blanked the Indians for five innings before giving up four runs in the sixth. Starting his ninth consecutive opener, the left-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings.
Chicago’s motto this season is “All In,” a poker reference that also describes their spending spree this winter when their biggest moves were signing Dunn to a four-year, $56 million contract and re-signing popular captain Paul Konerko to a three-year, $37.5 million deal.
For four innings, the reloaded White Sox looked unbeatable. They pounded Carmona, who was booed by a sellout crowd of 41,271 when he was lifted by Acta in the fourth.
Dunn’s third-inning homer got the White Sox started and gave the slugger seven homers on opening day, tying him with Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Eddie Mathews and one back of the major league record shared by Frank Robinson and former Mariner Ken Griffey Jr.