CLEVELAND - An 18-2 record pitching for any team is impressive.
Cliff Lee's season has been truly remarkable because he's been practically unbeatable for team that's been less than mediocre.
The Indians' left-hander recorded his AL-best 18th victory and won his seventh straight decision as Cleveland beat the Kansas City Royals 10-3 yesterday.
Lee, the Cy Young award front-runner, allowed three runs - two earned - and six hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and induced four double plays. Lee leads the AL in wins, winning percentage (.900) and ERA (2.43) for a team that's 59-67 and, until recently, was fighting to get out of last place in the Central Division.
"He's had a great year," said Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore, who didn't have a bad day himself with a career-high seven RBIs.
"It's not a surprise anymore when he goes out there and pitches like that."
"It's remarkable what he's done," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Lee hasn't been basking in his success. "I'm focused on my next start," he said.
"It's against Detroit [Tuesday]. That's where my focus is."
While the Indians completed a 7-3 homestand, the Royals have lost five straight, 12 of 14 and head back to Kansas City after a 1-8 road trip.
"It wasn't a good day or road trip," manager Trey Hillman said after his team made two errors, leading to four unearned runs. "It's frustrating, obviously."
Sizemore, who was 4-for-5, had a three-run triple in the second, a run-scoring single in the sixth and a three-run homer in the eighth.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run homer in the third and Jhonny Peralta hit a solo home run in the seventh for Cleveland, which swept the three-game series.
Zack Greinke (9-9) allowed five runs in five innings.
Despite the errors by his defense, the right-hander took the blame for the loss.
"I'm not making good pitches after that."
Lee walked two batters in the second, but was assisted by the first double play.
"You're going to get yourself in tough situations and you have to limit the damage," Wedge said.
Lee is unbeaten at Progressive Field in 2008, going 8-0 with a 2.39 ERA in 11 starts.
Kansas City outfielder Mitch Maier's right eye was swollen shut and his nose still bleeding yesterday, less than 24 hours after being hit in the face with a pitch.
The Royals placed Maier, a former University of Toledo player, on the 15-day disabled list with multiple facial fractures
He was hit by Cleveland left-hander Zach Jackson in the fifth inning of Kansas City's 8-5 loss.
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