Indians 9, White Sox 0
“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.”
“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 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 RBIs 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.
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.