Kansas City falls to Cleveland

Friday, June 8, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:40 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CLEVELAND — Fausto Carmona is putting himself in position to make the American League All-Star team.

Carmona won his seventh consecutive decision, leading the Indians over the Kansas City Royals 8-3 Thursday.

“The people picking the team are going to have to consider him,” Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez said. “He’s throwing the ball great.”

Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Michaels and Casey Blake homered for the Indians, who built an 8-1 lead and improved to 21-7 at home this year.

Carmona (7-1) has a 2.77 ERA in nine starts since April 13, when he made his first start of the season and was beaten 6-4 by Chicago. He allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings against the Royals, striking out five and walking one.

“I’m not thinking about the All-Star game, and I’m not thinking about how well I’m doing,” he said through interpreter Luis Rivera, the Indians first base coach. “I’m concentrating on my next start and the hitters I’ll have to face.”

Carmona throws 95 mph-plus, with a sinker that dives out of the strike zone.

“I haven’t caught anyone like him,” Martinez said. “His ball moves a lot. It’s really tough on hitters.”

Carmona was slated to start the season at Triple-A Buffalo but joined Cleveland’s rotation because of injuries to Cliff Lee and Jake Westbrook.

Kansas City scored in the seventh on a triple by Alex Gordon, who went 4-for-4, and an RBI single by John Buck. With two outs and runners on first and second, David DeJesus hit a tapper to the right of the mound that Carmona fielded and tossed to first.

“I knew he was the guy I had to get,” Carmona said. “I threw him a sinker and he hit it back to me.”

His only walk was to DeJesus leading off the game. The Royals had a runner on third base in the second and third innings, but Carmona pitched out of trouble both times.

“This young man has done a lot of work to be the pitcher he is,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He has a fantastic sinker. He trusts his stuff and he’s obviously pitching with a great deal of confidence.”

Three of Gordon’s four hits came off Carmona.

“Carmona likes to throw the fastball early in the count and then go to the sinker,” he said. “I just came in with the mind-set to be aggressive and attack.”

Rafael Betancourt pitched a perfect eighth, lowering his ERA to 1.48, and Tom Mastny gave up a two-run single to Joey Gathright in the ninth.

Odalis Perez (3-6) gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander is 1-4 in his last eight decisions.

“Today wasn’t my best day, but when I left in the sixth we were still in the game,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad outing, but I am the loser, I gave up the three runs.”

Kansas City has lost 11 of its last 14.

“I see some signs (of breaking out),” manager Buddy Bell said. “We just need to get a few guys going.”

Josh Barfield hit an RBI double in the fourth off the left-field wall, Gutierrez homered in the fourth on a drive that just cleared the wall in right and Michaels homered in the sixth. All three of Gutierrez’s career home runs have come against Kansas City.

Cleveland added five runs in the eighth off Brandon Duckworth and Zack Greinke. Blake extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games with a two-run homer, and Grady Sizemore added a two-run double.

Blake’s home run off Greinke came on the 13th pitch of the at-bat.

“It’s nice to be on a streak, but I don’t care about that,” he said. “I just want to help us win.”

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