Blake, Tribe win third straight, hand Royals sixth straight loss

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Casey Blake can't remember the last time he beat out a bunt -- or was leading the league in hitting.

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

"I don't really know why I did it," Blake said of his surprise bunt single in the second inning. "I guess when you feel confident you just do things without second-guessing."

Blake also had a two-run single in the third inning and is hitting a major-league best .370 after batting only .241 a year ago to lower his career average to .255.

Aaron Boone also had two hits 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.

Manager Buddy Bell said he doesn't believe the Royals' road woes have become a mental block -- yet.

"We can't fall into that trap," he said. "It's still early in the season. If we get caught up in that, it will only make it worse."

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

Cliff Lee (3-4) overcame a first-inning dizzy spell to pitch six-plus innings for the win, avoiding a career-high fourth straight loss and improving to 7-2 in his career against the Royals.

"Fortunately, we scored enough runs to win it," said Lee, who allowed four earned runs and eight hits. He struck out seven and walked three -- including the first two batters of the game.

"I didn't know what was going on," Lee said. "I felt dizzy and couldn't throw a strike."

Lee said he felt fine after drinking some Gatorade and eating a power bar after the first inning.

"It was strange, like maybe my blood sugar was low or something," he said. "But I got over it and it's nothing major."

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

With runners two runners on and two outs, Wickman went to a 3-2 count against John Buck, who came to bat hitting .476 (10-for-21) against Cleveland this season. But Buck watched a high curveball go past for a strike to end it.

Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez (1-3) gave up five runs and seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. Blake's two-run single put Cleveland ahead in the third and Ben Broussard followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2.

"I was just trying to get a hit for my team," Blake said. "You look at the swing and it wasn't pretty. Sometimes, hits just fall in."

Bell said that Hernandez will be examined by team doctors on Friday.

"He had a cramp under his armpit," said Bell, who went to the mound with the team trainer to check on the right-hander in the second. "I thought in the first inning his velocity was good. He said he was fine, but then he struggled."

Mark Grudzielanek had an RBI single in the second to give Kansas City a 2-0 lead but was deprived of another 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. Esteban 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.

Game notes
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 catcher Victor Martinez, in an 0-for-21 slump, did not play. ... Hernandez allowed 16 runs in 13 innings over his last three starts and is 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA in four starts this month to put his career record in May at 1-10 with a 6.81 ERA.