Sabathia’s career night helps shut out Sox

By The Associated Press

CLEVELAND – The only guy C.C. Sabathia didn’t fire one past was his manager.

Sabathia tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over eight innings and Ryan Garko homered and drove in a career-high five runs to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 6-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

Sabathia (12-11) couldn’t convince manager Eric Wedge to let him try for his seventh complete game and third shutout of the season.

“I was pleading hard,” Sabathia said. “As soon as I finished the eighth I looked at him. We talked a long time. I said, ‘See if anybody gets on,’ but he said ‘No.'”

Wedge wouldn’t budge despite seeing his ace left-hander allow only four hits without a walk, retiring the last 10 batters he faced in his final outing of 2006.

“He was lobbying hard and it’s not easy taking a guy out, but he made over 120 pitches,” Wedge said. “It was the wise thing to do.

“C.C. was outstanding. Not completing it takes nothing away from his performance.”

Sabathia lowered his ERA to 3.22, third-best in the AL, and improved to 4-0 this season and 12-3 in his career against the White Sox.

He also reached double digits in strikeouts for the third time this season and eighth time in his career.

“I felt this year was the best I’ve ever pitched,” said Sabathia, who at age 26 has an 81-56 career record.

Chicago starter Javier Vazquez (11-11) struck out 12, surpassing 10 in a game for the fourth time in five September starts.

But the right-hander dropped to 0-5 in eight starts since beating the New York Yankees on Aug. 10.

He allowed six runs, six hits and two walks over seven innings.

Chicago lost for the ninth time in 12 games.

“The effort was good, but the way C.C. pitched it didn’t matter,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He was dominating from the beginning. The kid is always good against us.”

The loss continued a second-half skid by the 2005 World Series champions, who were eliminated from returning to the playoffs Monday by a 14-1 drubbing at Jacobs Field.

Casey Blake drove in five runs for Cleveland in that game and Garko matched him as Cleveland won its fourth straight.

“When I went up the last time, Casey yelled out, ‘All you need is a triple for the cycle,”‘ said Garko, who was 3-for-4 and drove in all his runs with two outs. He had a two-run double in the third inning and three-run homer in the fifth.

“The best kind of RBIs are two-out RBIs,” said Garko, a rookie who has driven in 32 runs in 34 games since Aug. 18. “I love hitting in the middle of this lineup.”

Franklin Gutierrez doubled high off the wall in left to start Cleveland’s three-run third. Andy Marte walked and one out later, Jason Michaels beat the throw from third baseman Joe Crede, who had stopped his sharp grounder with a backhanded dive.

Gutierrez scored on a sacrifice fly by Victor Martinez to short right. Garko then doubled to left-center.

In the fifth, Michaels walked and Martinez singled to right to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Both scored on Garko’s seventh homer, an opposite-field shot into the Chicago bullpen in right.