Byrd pitches gem as Indians win eighth straight, 7-0 over White Sox

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Paul Byrd pitched a four-hit shutout, and Cleveland beat the Chicago White Sox 7-0 Saturday night for the Indians’ eighth straight win.

Byrd (14-5) has won his last four starts and seven of his last eight decisions. It was his fifth career shutout.

Casey Blake and Travis Hafner drove in two runs apiece while Franklin Gutierrez and Kelly Shoppach homered, helping Cleveland maintain its 5 1/2 -game lead over Detroit in the AL Central. The winning streak is the Indians’ longest since they won nine straight in 2005. Cleveland is also a season-high 21 games over .500 (78-57).

The slumping White Sox, who blew a 5-0 lead Friday night, have lost five in a row and 10 of 11. Chicago also has dropped 11 straight on the road.

Thanks to a double play in the second and a caught stealing in the fourth, Byrd had faced the minimum number of hitters before walking A.J. Pierzynski with one out in the eighth, one of two walks he allowed in the game. The right-hander struck out two.

Paul Konerko singled to lead off the second but was erased when Pierzynski bounced into a double play. Jerry Owens beat out an infield hit to start the fourth, but was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Shoppach.

Hafner drove in Cleveland’s first run with a third-inning groundout. Shoppach started the inning with a single off Javier Vazquez (11-8). After Grady Sizemore walked, Asdrubal Cabrera laid out down a sacrifice bunt and Hafner followed with a ground ball to the right side.

The Indians added two in the fourth. Gutierrez lined his 10th homer to center with one out, and Kenny Lofton lined a double down the left field line. Blake drove him in with a single to right.

Johnny Peralta led off the sixth with a single and, after moving to second on a passed ball, scored on Blake’s single to left-center. Back-to-back doubles by Cabrera and Hafner scored another run in the seventh. Shoppach hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Ryan Bukvich.

Notes

Cleveland’s nine-game winning streak in 2005 was from June 10-19. … The crowd of 41,131 was the Indians’ seventh sellout of the season. … The White Sox lost 20 games in August, marking the first time they have lost 20 games in a month since June 1987. … Konerko returned to the lineup after not starting Friday.

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