CLEVELAND (AP) -- C.C. Sabathia can't even allow himself to watch his latest masterpiece.
The reigning AL Cy Young winner, with trade rumors swirling around him, struck out 11 over eight innings, including Ken Griffey Jr.
three times, to help the Cleveland Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 on Friday night."I can't watch any sports [news] on TV because it is so crazy," said Sabathia (6-8), who has insisted since February that he won't discuss heading for free agency after the season.Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro has maintained he wants to retain his ace. But other clubs are formulating offers should the injury-riddled Indians continue to lag in the AL Central and trade their most valuable commodity rather than get nothing back if he bolts for even bigger free agent money. The defending division champions are seven games back."I come here every day and enjoy being with my teammates," said Sabathia, adding that any offer will have to go through his agents. "I have no say. I'm just here to try and win, hopefully all year."Fearing that seeing wild rumors about his future on TV may alter his focus, Sabathia will probably deprive himself of watching teammate Grady Sizemore hit his 18th homer, drive in three runs and make a spectacular catch.Cleveland won for the first time in four meetings with its intrastate rival this season. The Indians lead the series 30-25, and have won 11 of the last 15 at Progressive Field.Sabathia became the first Indians pitcher since Chuck Finley in 2000 to fan 10 or more in three straight starts. He retired 15 in a row between the second and seventh innings and gave up four singles and two walks overall."He threw the ball well," said Griffey, who fanned with two on to end the eighth. "He had everything working."Sabathia is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA over his last four starts. In 13 starts since April 22, the left-hander is 6-5 with a 1.96 ERA, 104 strikeouts and 18 walks."He was fantastic from first pitch to last tonight," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.Sabathia and Cliff Lee, who fanned 11 against San Francisco on Thursday night, became the first two Indians to strike out 10 or more in consecutive games since Gaylord Perry and Dick Tidrow each struck out 10 Chicago White Sox on July 10-11, 1972.Sizemore broke up a scoreless game by lining a 1-0 pitch from Daryl Thompson (0-1) over the wall in right with one out in the fifth.Sizemore also robbed Adam Dunn of extra bases in the first. The Reds' slugger hit a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark, but Cleveland's Gold Glove center fielder raced back and, with his back to the infield, made a leaping catch an instant before crashing into the wall just to the left of the 400-foot marker."If it's in the park, he's going to try his best to catch it," said Sabathia, who put both hands atop his head in amazement at the catch, which saved at least a run.Sizemore disagreed slightly."He should expect me to make those plays," he said. "Sometimes you need to make a sensational catch."Sabathia walked Griffey and former Indian Brandon Phillips followed with a single to right that likely would have scored Dunn. Sabathia fanned Jay Bruce to end the threat."That catch was pretty incredible stuff," Wedge said.Thompson allowed four runs, eight hits and one walk over five-plus innings in his second career start. He stranded runners at second base in each of the first three innings, but wasn't as fortunate in a five-run sixth, when the first three Indians all reached base and scored.Thompson walked Jhonny Peralta, who moved up on a single by Shin-Soo Choo and scored on a single by Casey Blake. Kelly Shoppach's bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Gary Majewski later scored Choo."Daryl walked the leadoff hitter," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We learned Choo doesn't like breaking balls, but he got a hit on a fastball on the first pitch. He's [Thompson] got to learn how to get out of those innings. "Sizemore doubled home two more and scored on Jamey Carroll's single to make it 6-0.
Rain delayed the start 61 minutes. ... Cleveland's nine shutouts lead the majors. ... Indians RHP Paul Byrd has a chapter in his new book, "Free Byrd: The Power of a Liberated Life," devoted to his prescribed use of human growth hormone. The book mostly deals with Byrd balancing his strong religious beliefs with life in baseball. ... Sabathia is 3-0 with a 2.26 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Reds. ... Griffey, who was the Reds' DH for the first six games of their nine games in AL parks, started in right field. Dunn was the DH. ... Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion (back spasms) missed his fourth straight game. ... Reds 2B Phillips extended his errorless streak to 68 games since his only miscue this season, April 9 vs. Milwaukee. ... Carroll went 3-for-4 and is hitting .450 (17-for-60) over his last 16 games.