CHICAGO — It may have taken close to six months, but Cleveland manager Manny Acta is finally getting a glimpse of what a young Indians’ roster may be capable of.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run home run, Fausto Carmona pitched six strong innings and the Indians extended their season-high winning streak to seven games with a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
The Indians are on their longest winning streak since they won 10 straight from Aug. 17-27, 2008.
“We want to finish strong. I’m not a big believer in finishing the season well and it carrying five months down the road. There’s too much time, especially when you have to go through spring training,” Acta said. “I believe more in carrying the momentum from spring training into the season because it’s closer when it comes to time. But it’s good. It’s been a long year, a lot of young and inexperienced kids are getting an opportunity to play here, getting the feel that they belong up here. Getting the feel for how we want them to play up here. Our pitching has been the key.”
Carmona (13-14) won his seventh straight start against the White Sox and has a 2.82 ERA during that stretch. He is 7-3 in his career against the White Sox. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits while striking out seven with one walk.
Carmona is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA in his last six starts overall and he feels he has a better repertoire of pitches than he did in 2007 when he was 19-8 with a 3.08 ERA.
“I feel very confident on the mound,” Carmona said. “I’m more happy (with 2010 season) than 2007. I throw more changeups and sliders. In 2007 it was all sinkers.”
He has not lost to Chicago since April 13, 2007.
“Carmona is always going to have good stuff as long as he is healthy. That’s one of the hardest guys to hit,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He’s got a great sinker ball. It’s not easy to go out there against him. He’s got some of the best stuff in the game.”
Brent Morel homered for the White Sox, who lost for the second time in nine games.
Tony Pena (5-3), who took over Gavin Floyd’s spot in the rotation, allowed six runs and nine hits. Floyd was shut down for the season after leaving his start with tightness in his right shoulder on Sept. 20 at Oakland.
Despite his struggles on Friday, Guillen appreciated the job Pena did out of the bullpen this season.
“I think Pena was one of the most underrated players we have. Nobody said much about him, but in the meanwhile, when he had to be there he did pretty good. Everytime we needed him he was available for us,” Guillen said.
Pena allowed consecutive doubles to Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera to start the game. Then Choo homered to right-center to give the Indians a 3-0 lead. It was Choo’s 22nd homer of the season. Since Sept. 1, Choo has 27 RBIS in 28 games and is hitting .340.
Mark Teahen doubled with two outs in the bottom of the first and scored on Dayan Viciedo’s single. Morel led off the second inning with a home run off the left-field foul pole. It was Morel’s third of the season.
With runners on first and second and one out in the third, Pena intentionally walked Travis Hafner to load the bases. During Jayson Nix’s at-bat, Pena threw a wild pitch allowing a run to score. Nix drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and Trevor Crowe followed with an RBI single to make it 6-2.
Crowe had an RBI single in the seventh inning.
Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano allowed a two-out RBI single to Alejandro De Aza in the ninth before striking out Brent Lillibridge with runners on first and second.
NOTES: White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks, who has not pitched since Sept. 2 with a sore right forearm, says he can pitch in the final two games if needed. … After hitting a grand slam Thursday night, White Sox 1B Paul Konerko had the night off.