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Sabathia roughed up for seven runs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- C.C. Sabathia is a big pitcher with a big problem.

"It hasn't been a typical last three or four weeks for me," Sabathia said. "I've just been bad."

Sabathia (7-6) gave up a season-high seven runs on nine hits in only five innings in the Cleveland Indians' 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

The 6-foot-7, 290-pound left-hander hasn't won back-to-back decisions since June, when he was 5-3 and headed to his second straight All-Star game. He's 2-3 with two no-decisions since.

"I have no excuses. I can't put my finger on any one thing," he said. "I just haven't been pitching to my ability, and these are games we need to win. It's kind of embarrassing."

It's also frustrating for Indians manager Eric Wedge, whose team is trying to position itself for a run at the postseason and needs all the help it can get from its No. 1 starter.

"He has to go out there, be aggressive, pick his spots and get ahead," Wedge said. "That's not what I'm seeing right now."

The most humbling moments for Sabathia on Sunday came in the fourth inning.

First, he gave up an RBI single to Abraham Nunez, who just joined the Royals in a trade from Florida. Then, after giving up another single, Sabathia hung a slider to the Royals' No. 9 hitter, John Buck.

Buck launched it into the left-field stands for a three-run homer and a 6-2 lead.

"I wouldn't say I embarrassed him," Buck said. "He's embarrassed a lot more guys than I ever will. I was just trying to get good wood on it."

Ken Harvey added a pair of one-run doubles for Kansas City, and
Nunez had two RBI in his Royals debut.

The Royals took two of three games for their first series win
since they took three of four from Minnesota from July 15-18. That
was also the last time, before this weekend, that they won
back-to-back games.

"We're finally getting back to playing the game the way it's
supposed to be played," said manager Tony Pena, whose team had
lost eight straight before winning its last two.

Darrell May (8-11) gave up two runs on six hits, walked two and
struck out two in five innings.

Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner homered for the Indians, who
lost two straight for the first time since the Chicago White Sox
won both ends of a two-game series July 21-22.

Sizemore's two-run homer into the right-field stands in the
sixth, and Hafner's two-out solo shot in the seventh, both off
reliever Scott Sullivan, got Cleveland within 7-5. Tim Laker
followed Hafner's homer with a single before Jaime Cerda relieved
Sullivan and got Coco Crisp to ground out to third.

Cerda gave up an unearned run in the eighth, when Omar Vizquel's
sacrifice fly made it 7-6. That followed a fielding error by
shortstop Angel Berroa on Ronnie Belliard's one-out grounder.

Nunez answered in the eighth with an RBI double, giving the
Royals an 8-6 lead.

"I'm very happy with what I did today," said Nunez, who hit
.173 in 58 games for the Marlins. "I just want a chance to prove
that I can play everyday in the major leagues."

Victor Martinez hit into a run-scoring double play in the ninth
off Shawn Camp, who earned his second save in as many chances.
Crisp then launched a fly ball into the gap in left-center for what
looked to be a sure hit, but center fielder David DeJesus made a
sliding catch to end the game.

"You wouldn't have wanted to see my face if he hadn't gotten to
that," Camp said.

Harvey's first RBI double put the Royals up 1-0 in the first,
and his second made it 7-2 in the sixth.

Cleveland went up 2-1 in the second on Crisp's sacrifice fly and
Ronnie Belliard's RBI single, but the Royals tied it in the third
on DeJesus' one-run single.

Game notes
Vizquel went 0-for-4, ending his season-high hitting streak
at 13 games. ... Nunez went 2-for-4 with a run. He started in right
field to give Matt Stairs, who had seven RBI in the series' first
two games, the day off. ... Sabathia lost on the road for only the
second time in six decisions, and his road ERA rose from 2.02 to
2.86 ... Cleveland first baseman Lou Merloni, who left Friday
night's game with muscle tightness, returned Sunday and was
2-for-4. ... Both of Sizemore's homers have come against Kansas
City. ... The Royals scored 25 runs in the three-game series, a
season high.