Series: Game 3 of 3

Kansas City won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 16
Kansas City12Final
Game 2: Wednesday, September 17
Kansas City1Final
Game 3: Thursday, September 18
Kansas City3Final

Royals 3

(79-74, 41-38 away)

Indians 2

(66-88, 37-41 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 18, 2003

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 102000000 3 8 0
    CLE 100010000 2 6 1

    W: J. Lima (8-1)

    L: C. Sabathia (13-9)

    S: C. Leskanic (2)

    Lima notches eighth win for Royals

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jose Lima's return might have come too late for the Kansas City Royals.

    Lima pitched five solid innings in his return Thursday night as the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 and won their second straight road series.

    Kansas City remained 4{ games behind Minnesota, the AL Central leader. The Twins beat Chicago 5-3.

    "We're still alive," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "We have to continue to play hard every single day and win some ball games."

    They might need some help, too. The Twins play seven of their final nine games against Detroit, which is on the verge of setting a post-1900 record for losses.

    Raul Ibanez was 2-for-4, drove in a key run and made a diving catch for the final out.

    Lima (8-1) allowed two runs, scattering six hits and a walk for his first win since July 27. He got key double plays in the second and fifth innings to get out of jams.

    "We asked him for five innings or between 70 and 80 pitches. He threw the ball well," Pena said.

    The Royals' bullpen shut down Cleveland the rest of the way.

    Jeremy Affeldt threw three hitless innings, striking out four and allowing a walk.

    "Affeldt was nasty," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He was throwing 95 with a big hook and he mixed in his change up against right-handers."

    Curtis Leskanic pitched the ninth for his second save. With two out, Victor Martinez drove the ball to the left field gap but Ibanez snagged it with a diving catch.

    "I was kind of surprised he held onto the ball," Pena said. "That was a great catch."

    Lima, who had been on the disabled list since Aug. 24 with a right groin strain, said if he could have returned sooner the Royals might be closer than 4{ back.

    "My teammates played great defense behind me. They scored three runs. That's enough," Lima said. "It just feels good to be back and get us on a winning streak."

    Kansas City took the lead for good with two runs in the third.

    Desi Relaford and Mike DiFelice opened the inning with singles. Relaford advanced to third when left fielder Jody Gerut bobbled DiFelice's hard-hit ball, then scored on Angel Berroa's sacrifice fly. Ibanez singled home DiFelice to make it 3-1.

    "That RBI was more luck than anything else," Ibanez said. "It was a broken-bat ground ball up the middle. Fortunately, I was able to leg it out."

    C.C. Sabathia (13-9) went seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out five.

    Sabathia, who became a father Monday, got stronger as the game went on, retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.

    "I was out of my rhythm the first couple of innings, but I settled down," Sabathia said.

    Lima gave up two singles to start the second but got out of the inning with a double play and a fly out.

    Ben Broussard walked to start the fifth and Jhonny Peralta singled. But Brandon Phillips lined out and Peralta got thrown out trying to get back to first.

    "You can't get doubled off in that particular situation," Wedge said. "The ball's a line drive. He took one step too many off the bag and couldn't get back."

    Coco Crisp singled to score Broussard and pull within 3-2.

    Carlos Beltran tripled and Mike Sweeney singled to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead in the first.

    Alex Escobar drove in a run on a fielder's choice after back to back singles by Casey Blake and Gerut to tie it in the bottom half.

    Game notes

    The Royals won the season series against the Indians 13-6. ... Lima went 3-0 against the Indians this season after going 0-5 against them in seven previous appearances. ... Sabathia went 0-3 against the Royals this year. ... Royals veterans made rookie 3B Jarrod Patterson put on a powder blue tuxedo after the game for the flight to Chicago. ... A squirrel loose in left field entertained fans during the first inning. ... Gerut celebrated his 26th birthday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press