Indians 6, Royals 5


CLEVELAND – Casey Blake drove in two runs and extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games to lift the Cleveland Indians to a 6-5 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Ronnie Belliard also had two RBIs as the Indians won their third in a row after a six-game losing streak and handed Kansas City its sixth straight loss. The Royals have lost seven straight on the road and are 2-20 away from home.

Kansas City also fell to 0-9 in day road games and 0-10 overall against left-handed starters.

Cliff Lee (3-4) pitched six-plus innings to earn the win, avoiding a career-high fourth straight loss and improving to 7-2 in his career against the Royals. He allowed four earned runs and eight hits. Lee struck out seven and walked three.

Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his seventh save and 23rd in a row since Aug. 6.

Blake went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .370, which leads the majors. He hit only .241 last season while playing in 147 games.

He beat out a bunt single in the second inning. In the third, Blake’s two-run single off Runelvys Hernandez (1-3) put Cleveland ahead. Ben Broussard followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2.

The Royals scored an unearned run in the first on two walks, an infield hit and throwing error by third baseman Aaron Boone.

Mark Grudzielanek singled home a run in the second to make it 2-0.

Grudzielanek was deprived of an RBI in the seventh on a ball hit down the third-base line. A Cleveland policeman serving as security stuck out his leg and kicked the ball in foul territory instead of getting out of the way. German would have scored easily, but was held up at third on the ground-rule double.

Reggie Sanders doubled home both runners anyway and scored on Tony Graffanino’s RBI double off Fernando Cabrera to make it 6-5. Then lefty Scott Sauerbeck struck out pinch-hitter Matt Stairs with two on to end the threat.

Grady Sizemore opened the fourth with his fifth homer for a 5-2 Cleveland lead and Boone had an RBI single in the fifth off reliever Jimmy Gobble.

Hernandez allowed five runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings. The right-hander has given up 16 runs over 13 innings over his last three starts and is 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA in four starts in May.

Notes: Cleveland had two runners thrown out at the plate by Royals outfielders. … The Royals join three other teams to start 2-20 on the road, most recently the 2005 Houston Astros, who recovered to advance to the World Series. … Lee had yielded more than 10 hits in two of his previous three starts after allowing that many only twice in his first 80 career starts. … Indians C Victor Martinez, in an 0-for-21 slump, did not play.

AP-ES-05-18-06 1517EDT