CHICAGO (AP) -- C.C. Sabathia had more on his mind than just
baseball Monday night.
"Right now, I'm pitching with a heavy heart," Sabathia said.
Sabathia's cousin, Nathan Berhel, died last week. Sabathia also
lost his father in December, and an uncle during spring training.
"I buried a cousin that is not too far from my age this
morning," said Sabathia, who wore his cousin's initials on his
cap. "It just felt to go out there and get a win for him and my
dad and my uncle. It's just been crazy this year, but I have to
keep going. I have to be strong."
Sabathia (5-3) scattered four hits and retired 13 of the last 14
he faced, including the last seven. He struck out four and walked
one, and lowered his ERA from 2.95 to 2.80 -- second in the AL to
Oakland's Tim Hudson (2.78).
"I just tried to pound the strike zone," Sabathia said. "I
was throwing everything for strikes today and I think that helped
me out. That lineup is awesome over there, but with the absence of
Magglio (Ordonez), I think it is a little easier to face."
Ronnie Belliard and Casey Blake homered in the first inning, and
Victor Martinez had a career-high four hits for the Indians, who
moved within two games of the White Sox for second place in the AL
Central. They also moved to .500 (34-34) for the first time since
Matt Miller pitched a perfect ninth to complete the four-hitter.
Aaron Rowand hit a solo homer off the left-field foul pole on a
1-2 pitch from Sabathia in the fourth for the White Sox, who have
lost five of their last six. Rowand had three of the four hits
against Sabathia, and finished 3-for-4.
The Indians got off to a quick start against Scott Schoeneweis
Belliard led off the game with a homer to left on a 3-1 pitch
from Schoeneweis for his sixth career leadoff home run. Two outs
later, Martinez singled and Blake followed with a two-run homer --
his 11th -- to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
"That was awesome, especially scoring those runs early in the
first inning," Sabathia said. "It gave me the confidence to come
out here and shut them down."
Sabathia's night almost ended early when he and plate umpire Tim
Timmons exchanged words after the big left-hander didn't get a
called strike during Jose Valentin's at-bat in the second inning.
When Sabathia approached the plate, first baseman Lou Merloni
restrained him and manager Eric Wedge quickly came out of the
dugout to speak with Timmons. There were no further incidents.
Sabathia didn't think he said anything that would warrant an
"All I was telling him is that I didn't say anything to him,"
Sabathia said. "I wasn't even worried about it."
With the Indians leading 3-1 with one out in the fifth, Coco
Crisp grounded into a fielder's choice and second baseman Juan
Uribe had a chance to turn it into an inning-ending double play,
but Uribe made a bad throw to first and Crisp was safe.
Martinez led off the eighth with a double to right off White Sox
reliever Mike Jackson and scored on Merloni's sacrifice fly to make
Schoeneweis gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings.
He struck out four and walked two.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen held a team meeting after the
"They should believe in themselves, it's not time to panic,"
Guillen said. "Every game is going to be a big game."
Joe Crede doubled in the fourth for the only other hit for
the White Sox. ... Rowand had his fifth straight multihit game. ...
The White Sox have homered in 16 straight home games. ... Sabathia
is 6-1 against the White Sox.