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Indians cap four-game sweep of White Sox

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians concluded their seven-game homestand Thursday afternoon the same way they began it. With a win.

Ryan Raburn had three hits, including two home runs, and Justin Masterson pitched into the seventh inning to earn his 13th win as the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox, 6-1.

The Indians extended their winning streak to eight games by sweeping the four-game series. Cleveland pulled to within two games of the first-place Detroit Tigers in the Central Division.

Cleveland went 7-0 on their homestand, outscoring Texas and Chicago 40-20 in the seven games. The Indians have now won 11 home games in a row and they are 37-19 at Progressive Field this season.

"We can improve. We're still making some mistakes," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "But we're resilient. Our guys play and they keep on playing."

Cleveland swept the four-game series with Chicago, winning two of the games on walkoff home runs, and they outscored the White Sox 22-11.

"Credit them. They just outplayed us," said Chicago manager Robin Ventura. "Today is probably magnified because of what happened earlier in the series."

The last-place White Sox, who have lost seven straight, dropped to 26 games below .500 for the first time in 33 years. Chicago (40-66) hasn't been this far below even since they were 62-88 on Sept. 24, 1980.

The Indians Thursday beat White Sox ace Chris Sale for the third time this season. Sale (6-11), who gave up Raburn's first home run, pitched five innings and was charged with five runs on 10 hits.

"I don't think there is any rhyme or reason to it," said Raburn of the Indians' dominance of Sale. "He's one of the best pitchers in the game. We just go up there and battle and try to put up good at bats."

Masterson (13-7) lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits. The only run allowed by Masterson came on an Alejandro De Aza home run leading off the sixth. Cleveland collected 14 hits, three each by Raburn, Drew Stubbs and Carlos Santana.

The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Mark Reynolds. Cleveland extended its lead to 3-0 in the third, when Stubbs reached on an infield single and trotted home on Raburn's first homer, an opposite field wind-blown poke that just cleared the right field wall near the foul pole.

"Giving up home runs in general suck, no matter how it gets there," said Sale.

"I admit it, I lucked out there, but I'll take it," said Raburn.

The Indians sent eight men to the plate and scored two more runs in the fifth. Stubbs and Nick Swisher led off with singles. Stubbs scored on an infield single by Raburn, and Swisher came home on a sacrifice fly by Asdrubal Cabrera to make it 5-0.

Raburn's second long ball was a solo shot off reliever Dylan Axelrod, leading off the seventh.

It's been a remarkable season for Raburn, who last year hit .171 for Detroit and was released by the Tigers after the season. He signed a minor league contract with the Indians, won a spot on the roster in spring training, and has been one of the most productive bench players in the league this season, hitting .283 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 173 at bats.

"Last year took a toll on me, but I knew I could still play. I knew the talent was still there," he said.

Notes: The Indians are in Miami Friday night for the start of a three-game series, the only road games during a stretch in which they 14 of 17 games at home. ... The Indians have swept two four-game series from the White Sox this season. It's the first time the Indians have swept two four-game series from one opponent in a season since they did it to the Kansas City Royals in 1960. ... Left-handed hitters are hitting .135 vs. Sale. Michael Brantley, the only lefty in the Indians' starting lineup, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts vs. the White Sox lefty. ... Paul Konerko needs one more home run to tie teammate Adam Dunn and Cal Ripken Jr. (431) for 43rd place on the all-time list.

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