CHICAGO (AP) -- Battered last season, Jose Contreras is getting payback these days.
Contreras outpitched C.C. Sabathia, and Jim Thome and Carlos Quentin hit solo homers to lift the Chicago White Sox to a 4-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians and their season-high sixth straight win Tuesday.It's the White Sox's longest streak since they won nine in a row from June 15-24, 2006.Quentin went deep in the first, hitting his American League-leading 12th homer and his second in as many games. Thome connected on the first pitch of the second inning, and Contreras (5-3) kept the AL's weakest offense in check while leading AL Central leader Chicago to its ninth win in 12 games.The 36-year-old right-hander continued his resurgence after a rough 2007 season in which he was banished to the bullpen at one point and lost nine straight decisions as a starter. Adding to his misery was his divorce from his wife.Now, he's pitching like his old self -- the guy who made the All-Star team in 2006."You know what, I wouldn't be here if I doubted myself," Contreras said through an interpreter. "The most important thing was that I was healthy when I was going through those struggles. I wasn't worried about being able to pitch. If you doubt yourself, in life you're not going to get anywhere."Contreras held a team that was batting a league-low .236 to three infield singles and four hits in all while winning his third straight start. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter in six-plus innings and left after Ryan Garko led off the seventh with a single to short.Matt Thornton came in and got a double-play grounder from David Dellucci, the lone batter he faced. Octavio Dotel struck out Casey Blake to end the inning, and Scott Linebrink pitched a perfect eighth before Bobby Jenks closed it out for his 11th save.The Indians dropped their season-high fourth straight after a weekend sweep by Cincinnati, and Sabathia (3-6) was a tough-luck loser after winning his previous two starts. The 2007 AL Cy Young winner allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out eight and walking one in seven innings, after pitching a five-hit shutout against Oakland on Wednesday.This time, he had little support from the offense."It's definitely tough to see," said Sabathia, who's 14-4 against Chicago. "I know coming up soon we're going to explode."Back at U.S. Cellular Field after a 7-3 trip to the West Coast, the White Sox looked as though they might blow away Sabathia early on in the opener of this six-game homestand.Quentin, who went 14-for-38 with three homers on the trip, drove a 1-0 pitch an estimated 417 feet to the shrubs beyond the center-field wall with two outs in the first. That gave Quentin homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.Thome made it 2-0 in the second by driving the inning's first pitch out to left -- his eighth homer and his third off Sabathia. The five-time All-Star hit two off Sabathia on Opening Day, but hadn't done much since then, his average plummeting to .203 before that at-bat."I don't have him figured out," Thome said. "He's too good to think you have him figured out. If you get some opportunities to get some pitches to hit, you've got to put them in play."Quentin took advantage of his opportunity in the first. For that matter, he's making the most of his chance with the White Sox after being limited by injuries last season with Arizona."There were some injuries, but injuries happen to all kinds of players," Quentin said. "I can't dwell on that. I can just learn from that and prepare myself the best I can."The Indians got a run in the third on infield singles by Casey Blake and Jamey Carroll and an RBI grounder to first by Grady Sizemore, but wasted another solid outing by Sabathia. Roughed up early in the season, he had a 1.49 ERA in his previous five starts and settled down after the first two innings.Chicago scored two in the eighth against Jensen Lewis on a bases-loaded single by Pablo Ozuna, who came in after Joe Crede got ejected, and RBI groundout to second by Nick Swisher. Crede got thrown out for the third time in his career after getting called out strikes in the fourth by plate umpire Wally Bell.
Cleveland is 3-for-30 with runners in scoring position during this losing streak -- its longest since a four-game skid from Aug. 10-14. ... The White Sox will celebrate "Welcome Back Carlton Fisk Night" in on an on-field ceremony to honor the Hall of Fame catcher on Thursday. The organization retired his No. 72 in 1997, unveiled a sculpture in his honor in 2005 and recently hired him as a team ambassador.