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Published: Thursday, 5/14/2009

Lee shuts down White Sox

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND - With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, Cliff Lee threw a called third strike past Jermaine Dye, who then flipped his bat and slammed his helmet to the ground.

It was the hardest contact the White Sox made all day.

Lee extended his mastery over Chicago with seven strong innings, outpitching Mark Buehrle in the Cleveland Indians' 4-0 victory yesterday.

The Indians took two of three from Chicago, their second series win this season. They also won two of three against Kansas City at home April 21-23.

Lee (2-5) hadn't won since the Yankee Stadium opener April 16, and he began the day tied for the AL lead in losses despite a 1.70 ERA in his last five starts. The four runs Cleveland scored yesterday doubled its output in Lee's previous four starts combined.

"He's been about as good as we've seen him. He's been very consistent," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's gone through a stretch here where we haven't scored any runs for him, but he hasn't given in to that."

Lee struck out a season-high nine while working out of two bases-loaded jams and has pitched 20 consecutive scoreless innings against the White Sox dating to July 1. It was the first shutout by Indians pitching this season and already the sixth time Chicago has been blanked.

"They have a good lineup. There's plenty of power there," Lee said. "With a team like that, if you can keep the ball in the ballpark, you're doing a pretty good job."

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, Lee allowed six hits - all bloops, bunts and squibs. Since allowing 11 runs in his first two outings, he has a 1.43 ERA.

Victor Martinez homered on Buehrle's seventh pitch and Ryan Garko added a two-run shot in the fourth. Garko is 11-for-23 against Buehrle (5-1), who had won five straight starts.

NOTE: Indians DH Travis Hafner (shoulder) is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus tomorrow.



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