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Sabathia, Garko lead Indians to easy win

Sep 27, 2006 - 2:07 AM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- C.C. Sabathia would be eligible for the Cy Young Award if the Cleveland Indians allowed him to pitch every time they faced the Chicago White Sox.

Sabathia pitched eight scoreless innings and rookie Ryan Garko homered and drove in five runs as the Indians posted a 6-0 victory over the White Sox.

Sabathia (12-11) allowed just four hits and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts to improve to 4-0 vs. Chicago this year. The burly lefthander is 12-3 all-time against the White Sox.

"C.C. kicks our butt every time," White Sox starter Javier Vazquez said. "He's tough. He's a lefty, he throws 95-96 and he locates the ball."

In his third double-digit strikeout game of the season, Sabathia threw 91 of 121 pitches for strikes and ended with a winning record for the sixth consecutive year.

"This is the best year I have had," Sabathia said. "This is the best I have felt on the mound, and the most consistent I have been by far."

Sabathia, who leads the major leagues with six complete games, begged manager Eric Wedge to let him pitch the ninth, but to no avail.

"I was pleading hard to pitch the ninth," Sabathia said. "I was looking at Wedgie the whole the way. It was a pretty long discussion that started right when I came off the field until the beginning of the ninth."

"It wasn't easy to take him out, especially when he was throwing like that," Wedge said. "He and Victor (catcher Victor Martinez) were lobbying to go back out. Victor was lobbying extra hard."

Matt Miller finished up with a perfect ninth.

Garko had three hits for Cleveland, which has won five straight games, one shy of its season high.

The Indians scored all their runs off Vazquez. They loaded the bases in the third inning before Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly and Garko hit a two-run double into the gap in left field.

"It's what you wait for in the minor leagues is an opportunity to get called up," Garko said. "I am just trying to make the most of it and take it at-bat to at-bat."

With two outs in the fifth, Jason Michaels walked and Martinez singled to right field to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Garko followed with an opposite-field homer just over the glove of right fielder Jermaine Dye for a 6-0 advantage. It was the rookie's seventh blast of the season.

"Garko has really stepped it up for us," Wedge said. "This is a guy who has had a lot of RBI and not a lot of at-bats. He wants to be up there with men on base."

Vazquez (11-11) surrendered six hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out 12 - the fourth time in five starts the righthander has fanned 10 or more. However, he is just 2-7 since the All-Star break.

"I felt good," Vazquez said. "All I can do is give it my best. I have gone out there and gave it 100 percent every time, but I don't like to lose."

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