CLEVELAND (AP) -- Indians manager Eric Wedge is certain he's never before seen what his starting staff is accomplishing.
After C.C. Sabathia's 2-0 shutout on Wednesday, Indians starters are 5-0 in their last six games. They have gone 43 1/3 innings without allowing a run. Here's a breakdown of the starters' last six games:
C.C. Sabathia pitched a five-hitter and struck out 11 in the Indians' major league-leading seventh shutout, a 2-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night that moved Cleveland into the AL Central lead.The Indians, who took a half-game lead over Minnesota, had not been alone in first this year and hadn't even held a share of the lead since the opening week.Cleveland starters have pitched 43 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings since Friday."It's pretty special stuff what they're putting together right now," Wedge said. "They're going well beyond the call of duty right now. We just want them to give us a chance to win."The consecutive scoreless streak is the longest by an Indians starting staff since they tossed 47 scoreless innings in August 1948. It's the longest by a major-league team in one season since a 54-inning streak by Baltimore's starters from Sept. 1-7, 1974, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.Cleveland became the first team to pitch five shutouts in an eight-game span since Oakland from July 12-19, 2002, according to Elias."It feels really good," Sabathia said. "Everyone is working hard. Everyone wants to be that guy each night."Sabathia (3-5) tied his season high for strikeouts, walked two and won consecutive starts for the first time this season. He has a 1.49 ERA over his past five starts.Sabathia pitched his sixth shutout, his first since a five-hitter against Kansas City last June 5."He was outstanding tonight," Wedge said. "His rhythm was dead on. He did a good job moving his fastball. His breaking ball was effective to both left- and right-handed hitters. There were situations where he had to make pitches to finish off innings, and he did that."Sabathia had lost his prior two starts to Oakland this season, allowing a combined 13 runs and 18 hits in 8 2/3 innings."Some of the swings they were taking tonight, he must have been pretty special," Cleveland third baseman Casey Blake said.Grady Sizemore and Ryan Garko homered off Joe Blanton. Sizemore homered on Blanton's second pitch of the night, and Garko connected in the fourth.Blanton (2-6) allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked two. He lost for the fourth time in five starts."Runs are going to be few and far between," Blanton said of facing Sabathia. "You just have to go out there and keep it close."Cleveland has won seven of nine and at 21-19 moved to two games over .500 for the first time since starting the season 2-0. Jhonny Peralta went 2-for-4 with two doubles, snapping an 0-for-15 slump.Oakland has been held scoreless in its past 23 innings at Cleveland. The A's put two on in the fifth, but Rajai Davis hit into an inning-ending forceout."It was another well-pitched game," A's manager Bob Geren. "What are you going to do? It seems like I have said this before. It seems like I sat here and said the same thing 24 hours ago."Sabathia punctuated his complete game by striking out Jack Cust and Emil Brown in the ninth inning."That's the Cy Young Sabathia that normally steps up," said Mike Sweeney, who was 2-for-4. "He made his pitches. In his last couple starts [against the A's], he was over the plate. Tonight he was living on the corners."Sweeney had a prediction about Sabathia, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, who is the final year of his contract."If he pitches like that the rest of the year, the contract Johan Santana signed will look cheap," Sweeney said, referring to the $137.5 million, six-year deal Santana signed with the New York Mets.
Sizemore has three leadoff home runs this season and 14 in his career, the second most in franchise history behind Kenny Lofton's 18. ... Oakland's Bobby Crosby hit his 100th double. ... Cleveland closer Joe Borowski, out since April 15 with a strained right triceps muscle, is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Friday, when the Indians start an interleague series in Cincinnati. ... Cleveland shut out Oakland in back-to-back games for the first time since 1966.