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Revitalized Lofton fuels White Sox

CLEVELAND (AP) -- It was supposed to be tight between the
Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox this season in the AL
Central.

So far, it's not even close.

For seven games, it's been all White Sox.

Kenny Lofton had three RBI as Chicago looked like the team to
beat in the division, winning their third straight against
Cleveland on Thursday, 6-3 over the reeling Indians.

After sweeping Cleveland last week at home, the White Sox won
the final three games of the four-game series at Jacobs Field to
improve to 6-1 this season against the Indians.

The White Sox outscored Cleveland 46-18 in the series. Their
lineup outhit the Indians (.310 to .212) and Chicago outpitched
Cleveland (2.47 ERA to 5.61), too.

"It kind of lets Cleveland know we're not going to roll over
for anybody this year," said Jon Garland (3-1), who cruised for
five innings and won his third straight start. "We're going to
come out and we're going to attack."

Royce Clayton hit a two-run homer off Ryan Drese (2-2) and was
in on all four double plays turned by the White Sox, who have won
13 of 16 and have a three-game lead on the Indians.

Cleveland can't stop its slide. After opening the season 11-1 --
9-0 against the Central -- the Indians have gone 1-9.

"I think if we played the Blue Sox right now we would lose,"
Indians right fielder Matt Lawton said. "That's the way it is
sometimes and we're not doing anything right."

The Indians reshuffled their starting lineup, but didn't get
much going on offense, getting only six hits.

Cleveland is batting just .218 (69-for-316) and averaging 2.5
runs in its last 10 games.

"It's just not happening right now," Omar Vizquel said. "It's
amazing. How does a team win 10 in a row and then lose seven in a
row? We need to play consistent baseball."

Garland didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, giving up
three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked four, but got
the Indians to hit into double plays after three of them.

"With the young guys we have out there we have to turn those,"
Clayton said. "Jon did a good job. It kept us out of some pretty
good jams."

Keith Foulke pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

Manuel tried a new lineup, dropping Lawton from the leadoff spot
and making several other changes. But the shakeup made no
difference through four innings against Garland, who didn't allow a
hit until Brady Anderson's bloop single with one out in the fifth.

Garland then walked Travis Fryman but got Russell Branyan to hit
a grounder up the middle to Clayton, who was playing behind the bag
at second and easily turned two.

"Double plays killed us," Manuel said. "We started hitting
the ball on the nose but we hit it right at them. That's the way
it's going right now."

Despite hitting into their fourth double play, the Indians put
together a three-run rally with two outs in the sixth, closing to
5-3 and chasing Garland.

Jim Thome hit an RBI single, and Lawton, batting fifth for the
first time this season, hit a two-run double. But lefty Damaso
Marte came on and got pinch-hitter Milton Bradley to ground out.

Lofton, who was rested for the first time this season Wednesday,
doubled in three runs in the fourth inning to make it 5-0.

Chicago loaded the bases on two singles and a two-out walk off
Drese, and Lofton, who spent nine seasons with Cleveland, cleared
them on a 3-2 pitch.

Magglio Ordonez's RBI single in the seventh made it 6-3.

Clayton had just one hit in 10 at-bats in the series when he
homered in the second to make it 2-0.

Mark Johnson drew a two-out walk, and Clayton followed with his
third homer, a shot in the left-field seats.

Game notes
Drese struck out a career-high six in six innings. ...
Branyan is in a 7-for-43 (.163) slide with 17 strikeouts. ...
Chicago 1B Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to 13 games,
one shy of his career-high. ... The Indians will face former GM
John Hart for the first time since he left when they play three
games against the Rangers this weekend in Texas. ... Indians
utilityman Jolbert Cabrera was to begin a rehab stint at Triple-A
Buffalo on Wednesday as he continues to recover from a gunshot
wound. Cabrera, who appeared in 141 games for the Indians last
season, was shot in the buttocks during a carjacking in Colombia
this winter.