KANSAS CITY - The Indians and Royals should have no trouble working up a little empathy for each other.
Coming into last night's encounter, Kansas City had lost 11 in a row, the Tribe nine of 11, making the visitors the hot team. Moreover, the Royals understand what it's like to be in a hitting slump. During the 11-game losing streak, KC scored a total of 28 runs, 16 in two games.
But hitting was not the problem for either team last night, as the Indians eked out a 5-4 win at Kauffmann Stadium.
"That was a heck of a baseball game in general," manager Eric Wedge. "And Grady was sensational."
Grady Sizemore accounted for most of the Indians' runs by hitting two home runs, the first leading off the game, the second a two-run shot in the fifth inning. He also took a run away from Kansas City with a running catch to end the game.
But Sizemore's second home run got downsized because of a base running mistake by Asdrubal Cabrera, who walloped a one-out double in the fifth. Cabrera's blunder was trying to stretch the hit into a triple and failing badly.
Naturally, Andy Marte followed with a single and Sizemore went deep but was denied driving in that extra run, which might have made things a little easier.
Following a maddening pattern that began early this week, the Indians did not get maximum bang for their buck. A team that amasses four doubles and three home runs probably should score more than five runs. The saving grace for the Tribe is that the Royals did pretty much the same thing.
The other big hit of the night for the Tribe was delivered by Casey Blake, who smacked a sixth-inning home run, following a double by Jhonny Peralta.
In one respect, maybe the Royals were a little more dangerous because of their losing streak. After all, don't they have to win some time?
"I don't look at it that way," Cliff Lee said. "I look at it as one game."
Nobody should complain that Lee (8-1, 1.88 ERA) has stopped doing his Sandy Koufax imitation and returned to being a mere mortal. Lee's past three starts have been far different from his first seven, when he posted an 0.67 earned-run average. Since then, he has compiled a 5.40 ERA but has won two of three.
Lee was able to stop the bleeding whenever events threatened to spiral out of control.
Joe Borowski added excitement to the ninth inning by giving up a one-out double to Esteban German and forcing Sizemore to chase Jose Guillen's drive halfway to Topeka before catching it at the fence in center to end the game.
"I got a good jump on the ball," Sizemore said. "I knew I had it."