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Indians overtake ChiSox for second with rout

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Scott Elarton downplayed his first career shutout, though his new Cleveland Indians teammates were impressed.

Elarton pitched a two-hitter and Casey Blake hit two of
Cleveland's four homers in a 9-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox
on Sunday.

Travis Hafner and Ronnie Belliard also connected for Cleveland.
Blake drove in four runs.

"At this point in my career, I'm not caught up in numbers,"
Elarton said, "but a shutout is nice to get."

The right-hander allowed an infield single to Willie Harris
leading off the fourth and a one-out single to Joe Crede in the
ninth in his finest performance since reaching the major leagues in
1998 with Houston.

"Scott was outstanding," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He
was in command the whole ballgame."

Harris hit a slow roller that second baseman Belliard fielded at
the cut of the grass, but he could not make a throw. Harris was
erased on a double play, as was Ross Gload, who walked to open the
third.

"Scott pitched a great game, he just kept throwing strikes,"
Belliard said. "You love to play behind a pitcher like that."

Through eight innings, Elarton (3-3) faced the minimum 24
batters, but he hit Ben Davis in the right knee with the first
pitch of the ninth.

"It had to be done," Elarton said. "Both sides knew it needed
to be done. I had to step up for my team."

Cleveland's Ben Broussard was hit by a pitch in the eighth from
Neal Cotts, and Matt Lawton had a pitch from White Sox starter Jon
Garland sail past his head in the first.

"Let's just say that Scott is a good teammate," Wedge said.

Elarton was warned by plate umpire Ed Rapuano, but maintained
his composure. He allowed Crede's single to center, but easily
finished his third career complete game and first since Aug. 27,
2000, with the Astros at Montreal.

It was the fastest game in Jacobs Field history at 1 hour, 56
minutes.

The Indians moved one game ahead of Chicago for second place in
the AL Central by winning for just the third time in 14 games. The
White Sox have lost eight of 11.

Blake hit a two-run shot in the second inning and led off the
fourth with his 24th homer against Garland (8-10). That gave Blake
homers in three consecutive at-bats, including a ninth-inning drive
Saturday night against Jon Adkins.

Elarton walked one and struck out six, including Harris and Paul
Konerko twice each. The only hard-hit balls off the right-hander
were a sixth-inning lineout to third by Crede and a fly ball to
medium-deep center by Gload in the eighth.

Elarton began this season 0-8. The right-hander went 0-6 with a
9.80 ERA for Colorado in eight games and was released. Cleveland
signed him May 25 and sent him to Triple-A Buffalo, where he went
1-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts.

He went 0-2 in his first eight starts for Cleveland until
defeating Detroit 5-4 on July 28. In his last eight starts, Elarton
is 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA.

"Scott has handled the ups and downs and shown steady
progress," Wedge said. "All the little things are starting to add
up."

Blake put Cleveland ahead with a two-run homer in a three-run
second inning. Hafner singled and scored on the home run. Jody
Gerut later doubled and scored on a single by Coco Crisp to make it
3-0.

Blake and Belliard homered in the fourth to make it 5-0.

Hafner opened the sixth with his 24th homer, but first since
Aug. 14. He added a two-run double off Mike Jackson in the eighth
to make it 8-0.

Blake followed with an RBI double to finish the scoring.

Hafner went 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs to break out
of a 4-for-33 slump (.121).

Garland allowed six runs and 10 hits in seven innings. He walked
one and struck out three in falling to 2-5 in his last 10 starts.

Game notes
Chicago turned four double plays and Cleveland two. ... The
White Sox won the season series 10-9. ... Garland is 3-8 in 14
career appearances against Cleveland. ... The Indians have Monday
off before going to New York for a three-game series against the
Yankees.