CLEVELAND – Jhonny Peralta, Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard homered, and C.C. Sabathia allowed just five singles over eight innings as the Indians routed the Kansas City Royals 11-0 to complete a three-game sweep.

The Indians have won five straight and 12 of 13, and have the best record at in the major leagues since July 31 at 33-11. They trailed the White Sox by 15 games on Aug. 1 but were just 31/2 games back at the start of play Sunday.

Cleveland began the day a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees in the wild-card race.

Sabathia (14-10) struck out eight and walked none, improving to 8-1 with a 1.99 ERA since Aug. 1. Fernando Cabrera followed with a perfect ninth.

Jose Lima (5-16) gave up eight runs and nine hits in four innings, losing for the eighth time in nine starts. He has allowed 30 homers in 30 games. and he matched his career high in losses, set when he went 7-16 for Houston in 2000.

Kansas City dropped to 48-99, the worst record in the major leagues, and is on the verge of losing 100 games for second straight season but just the third time in franchise history.

Hafner’s two-run homer put the Indians ahead with two outs in the first, and Peralta’s three-run homer capped a six-run fourth that made it 8-0. Broussard added a two-run homer in the seventh off Chris Demaria.

Kansas City put two runners on at the same time only once. After Emil Brown hit a one-out single in the seventh and Justin Huber beat out a two-out dribbler in front of the plate, Sabathia retired Matthew Diaz on a lineout.

Diaz had two hits for Kansas City, while Broussard and Coco Crisp each had three of Cleveland’s 16 hits.

Cleveland third baseman Aaron Boone took a hit away from Justin Huber with a diving stop in the fifth and retired leadoff hitter Chip Ambres in the sixth with a nifty short-hop scoop and throw that brought fans to their feet.

Center fielder Grady Sizemore tracked down a ball hit to the warning track by Ambres to close the

Notes: Indians 2B Ronnie Belliard missed his third straight game with a strained abdominal muscle. … … Cleveland has 46 homers in its last 25 games. … Crisp is hitting .413 (26-for-63) with four homers and 12 RBIs in September. … C-1B Ryan Garko, who hit .303 at Triple-A Buffalo, struck out in his major-league debut as a pinch-hitter in the eighth for Cleveland.

AP-ES-09-18-05 1548EDT


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