• Summary: Paul Byrd tossed a four-hit shutout, handing the Indians their eighth straight win with a 7-0 defeat of the White Sox.
• Quotable: "It may sound a little selfish with the score 7-0, but I wanted
the shutout. It was a playoff atmosphere. The crowd
was going nuts. I wanted to finish the game." -- Byrd
• Winning ways: Byrd has won his last four starts and seven of his last eight decisions.
• Unsung heroes: Casey Blake and Travis Hafner both drove in two runs while Franklin Gutierrez and Kelly Shoppach homered.
• Hunt for October: Cleveland maintained its 5 1/2-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central.
-- ESPN.com news services
Indians 7, White Sox 0
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Even though the game was well in hand, Paul Byrd admitted he wanted a little more when the Chicago White Sox
loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning. "It may sound a little selfish with the score 7-0, but I wanted
the shutout," he said. "It was a playoff atmosphere. The crowd
was going nuts. I wanted to finish the game." That's exactly what Byrd did, striking out Jim Thome and
retiring Paul Konerko on a fly ball to end a four-hit shutout for
the Indians' eighth straight win on Saturday night. "He reached down deep in that last inning," Cleveland manager
Eric Wedge said. "That's what it was all about there. I was happy
to see him do that." Byrd (14-5) has won his last four starts and seven of his last
eight decisions. It was his second shutout of the season and sixth
of his career. Casey Blake and Travis Hafner drove in two runs apiece while
Franklin Gutierrez and Kelly Shoppach homered, helping Cleveland
maintain its 5½-game lead over Detroit in the AL Central. The
winning streak is the Indians' longest since they won nine straight
in 2005. Cleveland is also a season-high 21 games over .500
(78-57). The slumping White Sox, who blew a 5-0 lead Friday night, have
lost five in a row and 10 of 11. Chicago also has dropped 11
straight on the road. After ripping his players' performance twice in Texas this week,
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is running out of things to say. "I think I've said it all," he said. "The only thing I can
say is keep your heads up and keep competing." Thanks to a double play in the second and a caught stealing in
the fourth, Byrd had faced the minimum number of hitters before
walking A.J. Pierzynski with one out in the eighth, one of two
walks he allowed in the game. The right-hander struck out two. Konerko singled to lead off the second but was erased when
Pierzynski bounced into a double play. Jerry Owens beat out an
infield hit to start the fourth, but was thrown out trying to steal
second by catcher Shoppach. Byrd retired the first hitter in the ninth, but singles by Juan Uribe and Jerry Owens and a walk to Josh Fields loaded the bases.
With his complete game in jeopardy, Byrd had a little talk with
himself. "The bullpen has picked me up so many times this year, I wanted
to give them a night off," he said. "I wanted to do that because
they've bailed me out and gotten me out of so many jams all
season." Blake was batting .169 with runners in scoring position before
his three-run double in the eighth inning that keyed Friday night's
8-5 win. He added RBI singles in the fourth and sixth Saturday
night -- both with runners in scoring position. "A lot of people are going to pay attention to that stat, but I
try not to dwell on it," Blake said. "If you feel good at the
plate in those situations, you have a chance to have some
success." Hafner drove in Cleveland's first run with a third-inning
groundout. Shoppach started the inning with a single off Javier Vazquez(11-8). After Grady Sizemore walked, Asdrubal Cabrera laid
out down a sacrifice bunt and Hafner followed with a ground ball to
the right side. The Indians added two in the fourth. Gutierrez lined his 10th
homer to center with one out, and Kenny Lofton lined a double down
the left field line. Blake drove him in with a single to right. Jhonny Peralta led off the sixth with a single and, after moving
to second on a passed ball, scored on Blake's single to
left-center. Back-to-back doubles by Cabrera and Hafner scored
another run in the seventh. Shoppach hit a two-run homer in the
eighth off Ryan Bukvich. Vazquez allowed four runs, three earned, and eight hits in six
innings. "Right now it seems like we're going out there with no
emotion," he said.
Cleveland's nine-game winning streak in 2005 was from June
10-19. ... The crowd of 41,131 was the Indians' seventh sellout of
the season. ... The White Sox lost 20 games in August, marking the
first time they have lost 20 games in a month since June 1987. ...
Konerko returned to the lineup after not starting Friday.