Lee handles Tigers as Indians win ninth straight

DETROIT (AP) -- Cliff Lee has been pitching well all season. Now the rest of the Cleveland Indians are performing as well as their ace.

Lee earned his American League-leading 19th win and Ben Francisco hit two home runs in the Cleveland Indians' ninth straight victory, 10-4 over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

Jamey Carroll and Kelly Shoppach hit back-to-back homers for Cleveland, which overtook Detroit for third place in the AL Central. The Indians are three games under .500 for the first time since May 24.

"I just feel like we're finding different ways to win ballgames," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

Edgar Renteria hit a home run for the Tigers, who have dropped three straight.

Lee (19-2) allowed two runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings to tie Brandon Webb of Arizona for the major league lead in wins. It's also a career-high; Lee won 18 games in 2005. Lee has won five straight starts, and eight of nine. The Cy Young contender is 5-0 with a 1.86 ERA in August.

"We're kind of spoiled by now. It's been like that since April," Francisco said.

Lee said he doesn't think about the looming 20-win plateau or winning the Cy Young Award.

"I just want to get as deep in the game as I can," he said. "Give the team a chance to win and put up as many zeros as I can."

Carroll said it's fun playing behind Lee.

"The way he takes the mound sets the tone for the game," he said. "Playing defense behind him when he's pounding the strike zone like that, it keeps you on your toes."

Chris Lambert (0-1) gave up six runs -- two earned -- and five hits in 2 2/3 innings in his major league debut for the Tigers. Lambert's contract was purchased from Triple-A Toledo earlier on Tuesday.

"I felt good for the first two innings and then I just got away from my game plan," he said. "I tried to battle through it, but it just didn't work out. A bounce here and a bounce there and that was it."

The Indians used the longball and two Tigers errors to score six in the third. Carroll and Shoppach led off with back-to-back home runs. Carroll's was his first since last Aug. 11.

Lambert then hit Orlando Cabrera with a pitch. Cabrera stole second and came home on third baseman Ryan Raburn's error on a groundball by Franklin Gutierrez. One out later, Jhonny Peralta singled and Gutierez scored when the ball skipped past left fielder Marcus Thames for an error and rolled to the fence.

Peralta later scored on David Dellucci's double, and Carroll chased Lambert with an RBI single.

"It shouldn't have been as bad as it looked," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. "We just didn't make plays that we should have. We just couldn't stop the bleeding."

Francisco's first two-run homer, in the fourth, made it 8-0. He added a second in the seventh inning and has 14 on the season.

The Tigers got on the board in the fifth on Raburn's run-scoring double and Brandon Inge's RBI single, and scored two more on Renteria's ninth-inning home run.

Grady Sizemore, a night after becoming the 14th American League player to join the 30-30 club, went 0-for-4.

"Just hopefully, we'll continue to win the way we are as a team and finish strong," Lee said.

Game notes

Detroit veteran left-hander Kenny Rogers isn't a fan of the limited replay for home runs, which was announced on Tuesday. "I don't like it. I think that it overshot the mark by far just because, what, in a Yankee game someone didn't get a homer? Please," said Rogers before Tuesday night's game. "Its happened thousands of times. That's part of the game." ... Cleveland 1B Ryan Garko was 0-for-4 to snap his 11-game hitting streak. ... Lee is the eighth major league pitcher since 1920 to win 19 of his first 21 decisions.