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White Sox eliminated after getting throttled by Indians

Sep 26, 2006 - 2:11 AM CLEVELAND -- The Chicago White Sox began defense of their world championship against the Cleveland Indians back on April 2. It ended five months later against the same club.

The Indians exploded for eight runs in the sixth inning en route to an easy 14-1 victory over the White Sox.

Chicago was eliminated from postseason competition after the Minnesota Twins defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-1 on Monday night. The last club to repeat as world champions was the New York Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

"It's a bad feeling," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They kept flashing the Twins score on the scoreboard and it didn't make you feel good. It's disappointing. I get paid to win games and we didn't."

"Expectations were high coming into the season," said Jim Thome, who was acquired in the offseason. "We are a good team, but you have to give credit to the teams that finished ahead of us. When you are a good team you expect to go further. The bottom line is we are not going where we wanted to go."

The White Sox entered the month of September with a one-half game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the wild card race, but have gone 9-15 in the final month of the season, sealing their fate.

"It's disappointing, but it's been kind of a process where we have faded," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "The other teams played well, but we just ran out of gas. I don't know why it happened, it just happened."

Casey Blake led the Cleveland assault with five RBI, including a grand slam that highlighted the big sixth inning. The eight runs in the frame were the most allowed by Chicago this season.

"Hitting a grand slam was going through my mind," said Blake, who has hit three grand slams in his career. "But I don't go up there trying to hit a home run."

The Indians have hit 14 grand slams this season, tying the 2000 Oakland A's for the most in a single season.

"It's pretty special stuff," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "But I wish it would be a little more meaningful as far as our season."

The Indians gained a measure of revenge by knocking out the team that knocked them out of playoff contention a year ago. Last year Cleveland entered the final series of the year needing to win two out of three games against Chicago to win the wild card, but the White Sox swept Cleveland, leaving the Indians one game behind the Boston Red Sox for the last postseason spot.

"Certainly it's not like this makes our season or anything," Blake said. "(Chicago) knocked us out last year. If we kept them from getting in, great. They certainly have a good ballclub over there."

Cliff Lee (13-11), who shut down the White Sox on one run over six innings in a 9-1 victory September 7, allowed just a run and four hits in seven innings.

"It's been a long time since I went seven innings, much less giving up one run," Lee said. "It felt good to get the win."

Rookie Ryan Garko and Shin-Soo Choo each had two RBI for the Indians, who improved to 10-6 against the White Sox this season.

The Indians reached Chicago starter Jon Garland (17-7) for four runs in the first inning, including RBI singles by Choo and rookie Joe Inglett.

Garland, who dropped his third straight decision, allowed 12 runs - eight earned - and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"I'm embarrassed for myself," Garland said. "It's hard to pitch that badly even throwing fastballs down the middle of the plate. I wanted to make the playoffs and it's not going to happen."

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