CLEVELAND (AP) -- Left off the All-Star team, Travis Hafner
figures he can still reach a more important goal -- the postseason.
Hafner homered twice and drove in five runs to back Scott
Elarton's six-hitter, and the surging Cleveland Indians defeated
the Detroit Tigers 9-3 in the first game of a day-night
doubleheader Monday.The Indians have won eight of 10 and 20 of 27. They improved to
25-1 when scoring six or more runs.The Tigers lost for the ninth time in 11 games."It was too much Travis Hafner and too much Scott Elarton,"
Detroit manager Alan Trammell.Denied a spot on the AL roster Sunday, Hafner scored three runs
and went 4-for-5 with a walk to boost his average to .313."When they took the vote, I didn't have a very good case,"
said Hafner, who has six homers in 10 games and 16 RBI in his last
eight. Since June 1, he is hitting .379 with 11 homers and 36 RBI
in 28 games."Being an All-Star wasn't a goal of mine when I came out of
spring training," the designated hitter said. "What I wanted was
to be more consistent at the plate, help my team win, and get to
the playoffs."So far, he's on track on two counts -- which could lead to
achieving the third goal."It just feels like I am competing real well," Hafner said.
"When I get a pitch to hit, I'm able to put a good swing on it.
I've been on a good streak."So has Elarton (5-3), who pitched his fourth career complete
game and first since a two-hit shutout of the Chicago White Sox on
Aug. 29."Obviously, when you have a doubleheader and your starter goes
all the way, that's a big pickup for everybody on the team,"
Indians manager Eric Wedge said.Elarton gave up a one-out single by Carlos Guillen in the first
inning, then retired 17 in a row before Guillen beat out an infield
single in the seventh. Chris Shelton and Rondell White followed
with singles to ruin the right-hander's shutout bid."He did a good job," White said. "He threw a lot of
first-pitch curveballs for strikes. He also used his changeup."White hit a two-run homer in the ninth, but Elarton hung on to
go to 5-1 with a 3.32 ERA in his last nine starts. He struck out
six without a walk."I just tip my cap to Rondell because he's a good hitter,"
Elarton said. "I felt strong in the ninth even though it was hot
and was hoping I could close it out."Hafner put Cleveland ahead 1-0 against Jason Johnson (5-7) with
an RBI single in the first inning, scoring Coco Crisp, who doubled.In a two-run third, Crisp singled and went to third on a single
by Hafner. Ben Broussard had an RBI single that sent Hafner to
third, and Ronnie Belliard followed with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0
lead.Cleveland broke it open in the fourth. Josh Bard doubled and
scored on a single by Jhonny Peralta. Grady Sizemore then bounced a
single over the mound and, after Crisp struck out, Hafner hit a
471-foot shot to center to make it 7-0.Hafner hit his 16th homer off Doug Creek in the sixth for the
sixth multihomer game of his career.Johnson gave up seven runs and 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings, his
shortest start since April 13 at Minnesota -- when he got only one
out and was roughed up for five runs.Cleveland scored an unearned run in the seventh to make it 9-1.
Cleveland is 33-18 (.647) since May 9 and has won 14 of its
last 20 home games. ... Hafner has 28 RBI in his last 17 games.
... Indians 3B Aaron Boone missed the game to be with his pregnant
wife. ... Johnson fell to 0-3 with a 7.68 ERA in 10 career games,
including eight starts, against the Indians.