Final in 11

Series: Game 1 of 3

Cleveland leads 1-0 (as of 7/30)

Game 1: Friday, July 30
in 11
Kansas City6
Game 2: Saturday, July 31
Kansas City10
Game 3: Sunday, August 1
Kansas City8

Indians 7

(53-50, 21-27 away)

Royals 6

(35-66, 22-28 home)

    8:10 PM ET, July 30, 2004

    Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri 

    1234567891011 R H E
    CLE 01400001001 7 12 2
    KC 00023000100 6 9 1

    W: R. Betancourt (4-4)

    L: S. Sullivan (3-4)

    Vizquel scores on Lawton's fly ball

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Before Omar Vizquel could score the game-winning run, he had to prevent one.

    Cleveland's shortstop threw out Kansas City's Joe Randa at the plate to end the ninth inning Friday night, then tripled and scored on Matt Lawton's sacrifice fly in the 11th to give the Indians a 7-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

    Vizquel slipped out before reporters arrived in the Indians' clubhouse, but he didn't leave anyone else at a loss for words.

    Half an hour after the game, Royals reliever Scott Sullivan was still shaking his head over Vizquel's blooper that fell just fair to lead off the 11th.

    "I was willing it foul, and in my mind I thought it looked foul," said Sullivan (3-4). "But it wasn't. It was just a well-placed hit, and unfortunately I didn't make the pitches to keep him at third."

    Right fielder Matt Stairs, slowed by a sore hamstring and playing deep to try to take away a double, also thought the ball had fallen foul.

    "That's just our luck right now," said Stairs, who homered and drove in four runs.

    Vizquel, hitless in his first five at-bats, extended his hitting streak to 12 games with the triple. He slid home on Lawton's sacrifice fly but easily beat the throw.

    Randa wasn't so fortunate in the ninth, when the Royals tied it at 6 on Mike Sweeney's two-out double down the line in left.

    Sweeney's hit off Bob Wickman scored David DeJesus, who doubled with one out and went to third on a passed ball. It was Wickman's first blown save in two chances.

    Randa, who walked with two out, tried to score from first on the double but was thrown out at the plate by Vizquel's relay from left fielder Coco Crisp.

    "That relay throw was why we kept playing," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

    Rafael Betancourt (4-4) pitched perfect 10th and 11th innings for the win, striking out four, after the Indians blew a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning.

    "This game gives us the confidence to go out and be in the (AL Central) race," Betancourt said. "It's too early to talk about September, but it's fun to be playing for a playoff spot now."

    Ronnie Belliard hit three doubles for the Indians, who won for the seventh time in eight games and have beaten Kansas City five times in the last 10 days. The Royals' eighth straight loss matched a season high.

    The Indians took a 6-5 lead in the eighth on a throwing error by pitcher Dennys Reyes.

    Crisp singled with two out and then stole second. Grady Sizemore followed with a dribbler that he beat out for an infield single, and Reyes' throw in the dirt allowed the speedy Crisp to score.

    Belliard went 3-for-5, matched a career high with his doubles, and scored a run. But he also flied out to right with the bases loaded to end the 10th.

    That wasn't the Indians' only wasted opportunity in the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Casey Blake tried to score on Jaime Cerda's pitch in the dirt. But catcher John Buck, a 10th-inning defensive replacement, tracked the ball down and flipped to Cerda for the tag at the plate.

    Royals starter Brian Anderson was shelled for five runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings, but the Royals' three-run rally in the fifth kept him from tying a franchise record with his 10th straight loss.

    After Stairs' two-run homer in the fourth got the Royals within 5-2, Alberto Castillo led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. DeJesus singled, and Castillo scored when starter Jake Westbrook made a bad throw trying to pick DeJesus off first.

    With two outs and one on, Sweeney's hard grounder went between Blake's legs at third for a two-base error. Stairs followed with a two-run double to the gap in right center, tying the score at 5.

    Cleveland went up 1-0 in the second on Travis Hafner's RBI double, then scored four times in the third on RBI singles by Victor Martinez, Blake, Lou Merloni and Crisp.

    Westbrook gave up six hits in five innings, striking out two and walking two. His ERA, second-best in the AL, went from 3.10 to 3.18.

    Game notes

    Kansas City scored more runs Friday night than in its previous four games combined. The Royals had four runs over that span. ... Merloni strained his right quadriceps running the bases after his third-inning single. He left the game and was day-to-day. ... The Royals traded INF Jose Bautista to the New York Mets and recalled RHP D.J. Carrasco from Triple-A Omaha before Friday night's game. Kansas City got minor-league C Justin Huber in exchange for Bautista and assigned him to Omaha. Bautista later was traded to Pittsburgh.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press