He didn't get any hits. His team didn't

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He didn't get any hits. His team didn't win any games. As far as anyone saw, he didn't break anything.

Who was that guy wearing No. 8, anyway?

The Cleveland Indians held Belle without a hit for the third straight game as they completed a three-game sweep of the reeling Chicago White Sox with a 5-2 victory Sunday night.

The last time he played at Jacobs Field, Belle burned his former team with a home run, then flipped an obscene gesture to the fans who turned on him after he signed with rival Chicago.

The closest he came to either of those feats this weekend was when he made the final out of Saturday's game. Belle flied out to the wall, then blew a kiss to the crowd. He was 0-for-3 with a walk in the finale and 0-for-11 in the series, reaching base only twice.

"Albert struggled in this series," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "Last series, he just about single-handedly killed us, so it's nice to be on the other side of it."

Matt Williams extended his career-high hitting streak to 23 games, and Jim Thome and Tony Fernandez homered to get the victory for rookie Jaret Wright (6-3).

Jose Mesa got three outs for his 12th save, striking out Magglio Ordonez for the final out to a standing ovation from broom-waving fans.

The sweep gave AL Central-leading Cleveland an eight-game lead over Chicago, which lost its fifth straight. The Indians have won eight of 10 and lead Milwaukee by 5 1/2 games, equaling their biggest lead of the season.

"This in no way wraps it up," Hargrove said. "It sure doesn't do us any harm, let's put it that way."

Chicago manager Terry Bevington, who called the game his club's biggest of the year, had to revise his thinking.

"Tomorrow's game is a must-win now," he said.

Belle's batting average against his ex-team fell from .318 to .212 (7-for-33) with two homers and 10 RBIs. He was controversial only in memory, even setting his helmet down ever-so-gently on the dugout steps after grounding out.

Plus, Belle could only watch as teammate Robin Ventura collided with Indians second baseman Bip Roberts on a force play in the sixth inning. Thoughts immediately turned to a similar play in which Belle leveled Milwaukee's Fernando Vina last year while he played for Cleveland.

Ventura reached on a walk and was running to second on Mike Cameron's grounder. Roberts, who hasn't played second regularly in at least a year, fielded it and ran toward Ventura, who lowered his shoulder to brace himself as they collided.

Roberts, who bruised his right knee, took the blame.

"I went toward him, and he did nothing wrong," said Roberts, who will try to play today against Baltimore. "I initiated the contact."

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, who did color commentary on the game for ESPN, agreed.

"It's just a good, clean, hard baseball play," Morgan said before embracing Roberts in the clubhouse.

In fact, while Roberts was getting treated, he heard Morgan say on the air it was not Ventura's fault. So he returned to the dugout with a sign that read, "Joe, you're right. I'm OK, but it hurts."

The fans booed Ventura, even though they fully supported Belle when he hit Vina with a forearm last season. Belle was suspended for two games and fined $25,000 for the play, which Morgan said was no different than Ventura's.

"It wasn't any more or less," he said. "It doesn't matter what you do (with your arms). It's the same play."

Ventura, who missed most of the season with a fractured foot, appeared concerned about Roberts. Belle walked over to Ventura in the dugout and shook his hand while Roberts writhed in the dirt.

"He shook my hand when I struck out, too," Ventura said. "It doesn't mean anything. It had nothing to do with the play."

Fernandez replaced Roberts at second base and lined his ninth homer down the right-field line off reliever Tony Castillo in the seventh to give the Indians a 4-2 lead.

"So, it was kind of a blessing," Roberts said.

Before colliding with Roberts, Ventura gave Chicago a 2-1 lead with his fourth homer, one of a dozen or so balls to land in the second deck in right field at Jacobs Field.

Thome tied it at 2 in the fourth with his 37th homer. Manny Ramirez drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the fifth.

Williams, acquired to replace Belle as Cleveland's premier power hitter, made it 5-2 with an RBI single in the eighth off Matt Karchner.

Wright allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, walking three and striking out two. Doug Drabek (10-10) allowed three runs and four hits in six-plus innings.

Notes: Belle's career numbers at Jacobs Field .328 (253-for-771), 69 homers, 187 RBIs. ... The 202nd straight sellout crowd (43,051) pushed the Indians' season attendance to 3,018,121. It is the second time in club history and second straight year they have drawn 3 million fans ... Ventura's homer was his first since Aug. 9 (84 at-bats.) ... Thome had not homered since Aug. 23 _ the same day of Belle's last homer. ... Cleveland swept the White Sox in Cleveland for the first time since 1993.

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