Seven straight singles help Tribe put game away in fifth inning

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Asdrubal Cabrera lined a single up the middle. Grady Sizemore pulled one through the right side. Jamey Carroll nearly hit pitcher Brandon Duckworth in the forehead with another, driving in a run.

By the time the Indians were done, they had an inning straight out of a Little League game: seven consecutive hits, five successive RBI singles, six runs.

Cleveland's big inning led to a 9-3 win over the Kansas City Royals Friday night in Victor Martinez's return to catching, extending the Indians' road winning streak to 10 games.

"I've been part of some big rallies, but I'm not sure I've seen anything like that," Carroll said.

The Indians scored two runs in the second inning off Brandon Duckworth (2-1) and probably would have had more if Royals second baseman Alberto Callaspo hadn't made a nifty flip with his glove to start a double play.

Then Cleveland poured it on in the fifth.

Carroll got the scoring started with his headhunting single, then David Dellucci, Jhonny Peralta, Martinez and Shin-Soo Choo each hit RBI singles. Another run came in on Ryan Garko's double play ball, making it 8-0. Yasuhiko Yabuta, Kansas City's third pitcher in the inning, finally ended the inning by getting Franklin Gutierrez to ground out

The Indians finished with 12 hits, beating up on a tired Royals team that used a team-record nine different pitchers in a doubleheader the day before.

"We've got to be able to stop the bleeding a lot sooner than we did," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

Cleveland matched the fourth-longest road winning streak in franchise history and has won five straight and 13 of 18 overall. Though the Indians still have a long way to go, trailing Chicago by 10½ games in the AL Central, they weren't about to take any chances with starter Anthony Reyes.

The right-hander had a hard time warming up and couldn't get loose during the game. He still pitched well, allowing a hit and a walk in three innings, but didn't come out for the fourth to protect his sore elbow.

Reyes was replaced by Edward Mujica (2-1), who gave up four hits in two innings.

"It was just a little stiff," Reyes said. "I thought it would loosen up, it just never did. I'm just being careful and decided to give it a break today."

The news on Martinez's elbow was much better.

The two-time All-Star catcher had elbow surgery on June 13 and had struggled at the plate after being activated from the disabled list on Aug. 31, going 3-for-15 in five games. Martinez got a lift from hitting his first homer in nearly a year Wednesday against the White Sox and Indians manager Eric Wedge decided to give him a shot behind the plate against Kansas City.

Though he didn't face any long throws in his nine innings, Martinez called a good game with a disjointed rotation after Reyes' injury. He was sharp with the bat, too, going 2-for-3 with two walks, scoring two runs and knocking in another.

"He looked good, he felt good, he had a lot of energy, was obviously excited to be back there again," Wedge said. "He did a good job on a tough day. When you've got to get your starter out after three innings and work through some bullpen guys, I thought he handled everything very well today.

Kansas City was coming off a three-game sweep over Oakland, getting 27 combined hits to win both games of a doubleheader on Thursday.

The Royals had far more trouble with the streaking Indians.

Duckworth struggled with control through his five innings, repeatedly missing high as he walked four batters. The right-hander gave up six runs in 11 innings to win his first two starts after being called up on Aug. 24 and nearly matched that total in five innings against the Indians.

"They're a good team and they battled me," said Duckworth, who allowed five runs and five hits. "The ball just didn't bounce the right way tonight."

Kansas City's offense wasn't much better.

Despite Reyes' early exit, the Royals couldn't string the hits together, stranding two runners in the fourth and fifth. The stagnant offense finally showed a spark in the seventh, scoring three runs off Tom Mastny on David DeJesus' sacrifice fly and a two-run double by Jose Guillen.

It was a little too late after falling behind 8-0.

"It's not good playing three games in the last two days," Hillman said.

Game notes
Royals 3B Alex Gordon, on the 15-day DL since Aug. 23 with a torn hip flexor tendon, took ground balls before the game. He didn't throw or take batting practice. ... Choo extended his hitting streak to nine games and has reached safely in 25 straight.