CLEVELAND (AP) -- C.C. Sabathia was so focused he lost track of how many hits he allowed Friday night.
Sabathia pitched a three-hitter and Grady Sizemore hit his third homer in four games to lead the Cleveland Indians over the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1."Somebody asked about the three-hitter and I didn't know that's what it was," Sabathia said. "I'll take it. It felt good and I felt sharp out there."The left-hander struck out nine in Cleveland's second complete game in three nights. He improved to 8-3 in 20 interleague appearances as the Indians won for the 12th time in their last 13 games against a National League team. Cleveland had the best interleague record last season at 15-3."I feel like I have the advantage with them not seeing me," Sabathia said about his success against NL teams. "I threw a lot of strikes and tried to get ahead in the count. It worked out pretty well."Sabathia (3-1) walked one and threw 77 of 102 pitches for strikes.The Indians have won four in a row following a season-high six-game losing streak. Pittsburgh has lost two in a row and fell to 3-18 on the road. The Pirates dropped to 1-15 when facing a left-handed starter."The way [Sabathia] was throwing, it felt like we were down by 10," said Pirates left fielder Jason Bay, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and had a 10-game hitting streak stopped.Sizemore hit a 1-1 pitch from Zach Duke (2-5) over the wall in right for his seventh homer of the season and fifth in his last 12 games to spark Cleveland's three-run first inning. It was the second time this season and fifth in his career that he led off a game with homer.Jhonny Peralta drew a one-out walk and scored on a two-out double by Victor Martinez to make it 2-0. Martinez broke an 0-for-21 streak with an opposite-field drive off the right-field wall. He scored on a single by Eduardo Perez.Freddy Sanchez hit his fourth homer in the fourth to cut the Cleveland lead to 3-1."Even that pitch Freddy hit was a good one," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "That was the best game we've had pitched against us -- by far."Duke allowed only one hit over his final six innings but lost his third consecutive start. He issued two walks in both the fourth and fifth innings but escaped those jams in his first career start against an AL team. The left-hander walked six and struck out six over seven innings."I made bad pitches in the first inning, but I was very happy with the way I pitched after that," Duke said.Perez hit his fifth homer with two outs in the eighth off John Grabow to make it 4-1.Cleveland right fielder Casey Blake went 0-for-2 with two walks, ending his career-high hitting streak at 15 games. Perez's homer extended the inning for Blake to get one more chance at a hit."When Eddie went up there, I said, 'Give me a chance,' and he goes and hits a home run. I thanked him for that," Blake said. "I was aware of the situation. On the fourth ball, I wasn't going to swing at a pitch that wasn't right there for me, but it was close. I checked my swing and was waiting for the umpire to call it strike one."So it's over, but we won. That's a lot more important," he said.
Indians third baseman Aaron Boone left in the eighth inning with a stiff back and is day-to-day. ... It was Sabathia's first career three-hitter. ... The Indians are 86-72 in interleague play since 1997; Pittsburgh is 49-73. ... The Pirates are 1-12 in their last 13 games in AL ballparks. ... The Pirates lead the all-time series between the teams, 10-9. ... Sanchez has an RBI in seven of his last 10 games. ... Blake hit .426 (23-for-54) during his hitting streak. ... Bay batted .341 (14-for-41) during his streak. ... Cleveland's other complete game this week was a shutout of Kansas City by right-hander Jake Westbrook on Wednesday night.