Cleveland Indians ace C.C. Sabathia (12-2, 3.20 ERA) became the first 12-game winner of the season Saturday after pitching seven good innings against the struggling Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The beefy lefty allowed 3 runs - 2 earned - on 6 hits with 8 strikeouts.
Sabathia has walked only 17 batters so far and fanned 116 in an AL-best 129.1 innings. His 12 wins before the 1st of July are the most by a Cleveland hurler since Hall of Famer went 14-1 in 1974.
Grady Sizemore provided 3 runs of support on a 3-for-4 night while Jhonny Peralta went 2-for-5 with one run driven in. Travis Hafner hit his 13th bomb of the year in the 5th inning off starer J.P. Howell (1-2, 5.19 ERA), who lasted only 4.1 innings after surrendering 5 runs on 8 hits with 5 Ks.
Ty Wigginton went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the fourth for the D'Rays and Raul Casanova went 2-for-3, including a two-run homer in the ninth off Rafael Perez to spark a comeback attempt. The next batter, Dustan Mohr hit a solo shot, but it was too little too late for Tampa.
The Tribe (48-32) are sitting atop the AL Central with a slim 1.5-game lead over the Detroit Tigers as the 33-46 Rays are dead last in the AL East, a miserable 16 games behind the Red hot Boston Red Sox.