Affeldt first Royals starter to get victory in win vs. Tribe

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- At last the Kansas City Royals have a
victory from a starting pitcher.

Jeremy Affeldt pitched into the sixth inning to pick up the first victory by a Kansas City starter this season and the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 on Sunday.

Affeldt, who held the Indians to four hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings, became the first Royals starter to earn a win since J.P. Howell on Sept. 26. Kansas City starters were 0-9 with a 6.25 ERA this season before Sunday.

"It was bound to happen one of these days," Affeldt said. "I don't think any of the starters cared if we get a victory or not, we just want to go home feeling like a winner. Today is a product of playing good defense, we had a lead early, we held the lead and I just happened to be on the winning end."

Affeldt picked up his first victory as a starter since July 23, 2003. He spent all of last season in the bullpen and most of 2004.

"I've had a lot of losses since then," Affeldt said. "It's about time I turned it around and got a win out of it."

Affeldt (1-2) threw 94 pitches, walked two and struck out a season-high six.

In his previous start, Affeldt held the Chicago White Sox to four hits and three unearned runs in six innings but was charged with the loss.

"He pitched as well today as he did in Chicago," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "It's a big lift for us. Those last two teams he's faced are not slouches. His tempo was outstanding. I
like his tempo. Last year his tempo was slow."

Said Affeldt: "I'm working a little bit quicker. I worked pretty quick the first two games, but when you throw a lot of balls it seems you work slower. I changed that and I'm throwing more strikes."

Kansas City beat Cleveland 11-5 on Saturday night to snap an 11-game losing streak.

"It's a streak for us," Tony Graffanino said of the Royals' back-to-back victories. "We'll take it right now after losing all those ball games. We feel like a winning ballclub again."

Ronnie Belliard homered with one out in the second inning for the Indians. Bell said in the past after Affeldt gave up "something like that, it bothered him."

"It seemed like he got better after that today," Bell said.

The Royals scored three runs in the bottom half. John Buck doubled in a run and Esteban German singled home Angel Berroa, who
went 4-for-4. Emil Brown scored the first run of the inning on Belliard's throwing error.

"Affeldt was outstanding," said Berroa, who went 8-for-12 in the series to raise his average to .317. "He was unbelievable."

Berroa and Tony Graffanino had back-to-back doubles in the fourth to make it 4-1. Graffanino, who had three hits, singled home Brown in the eighth.

Indians right-hander Jason Johnson (2-1) allowed four runs and nine hits with one walk in six innings. Johnson lost for only the
second time in seven decisions against the Royals, covering 13 career starts.

"I didn't feel real good pretty much the whole game," Johnson said. "All my pitches were up. A sinker doesn't do much when it is up. I just tried to battle through it. If I'm not in there in the seventh inning, I didn't do my job."

Indians manager Eric Wedge said Johnson was "real good."

"He gave us every chance to win the ball game," Wedge said. "A couple of groundballs found holes, but he bowed his neck and kept us in he game. We hit the ball hard, but their defense was great today."

The bottom four of the Royals' lineup -- Berroa, Graffanino, German and Buck -- had nine hits, four RBI and scored three runs.

Elmer Dessens replaced Affeldt with one out in the sixth and allowed just two singles in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

Victor Martinez singled in the sixth and has reached base by a hit or walk in all 19 Indians games this season.

The Royals won two of three from Cleveland for the first time since April 30-May 1, 2005.

Game notes
Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore has gone 81 games since his last error on July 24, 2005. ... The Royals hit .232 and had a 6.70 ERA in their 11-game losing streak. The bullpen was 0-4 with four blown saves in the skid. ... Cleveland opponents have stolen 19 bases in 20 attempts. ... The Royals have scored four runs in right-hander Scott Elarton's four starts. Elarton's fifth start is Tuesday against Minnesota.