KANSAS CITY, Mo.: What is it called when one team has more runs than its opponent three times in a row? A winning streak, of course.
In 2010, Northeast Ohio baseball fans haven't had much reason to become familiar with that term. But Wednesday night through rain, lightning and thunder, the Indians defeated the Royals 4-0 for their third victory in succession.
It is only the second time this year the Tribe has put together a streak of such ""magnitude."" It happened April 15 through April 18, when the Wahoos won four consecutive games.
The Indians not only outlasted Kansas City, they outlasted Mother Nature, who triggered rain delays of 26 minutes and one hour, 10 minutes.
When the umpires ordered the field covered for the second time, it appeared the teams might be finished for the night. And with rain intensifying, the Tribe came through with clutch performances by the offense and starter Fausto Carmona.
By the top of the fifth, the rain was washing over Kauffman Stadium like a mechanized car wash gone berserk. Thunder was closing in; mean streaks of lightning crackled in the distance.
Neither the Indians nor the Royals had scored, but Jhonny Peralta led off the inning with a single and stopped at second on Mark Grudzielanek's single. Mike Redmond bunted the runners to second and third, and Asdrubal Cabrera snapped an 0-for-16 streak with a two-run single.
But before the game could be declared official, the Royals had to bat in the bottom of the fifth. When Mike Aviles led off against Carmona, the rain was getting heavier.
Aviles went down looking at strike three. Carmona disposed of David DeJesus on a weak ground ball to first, and by the time Billy Butler was retired on a ground ball to third, it was difficult to identify the players through the downpour. The umpires called for the tarp as soon as the inning ended.
The game resumed after the rain delay but in the fifth inning, both the offense and Carmona performed well under difficult circumstances.
Only in the fifth inning did Carmona retire the side in order. In both the first and fourth innings, the Royals put the first two runners on base, dutifully sacrificed them to second and third but failed to score. In all, Carmona gave up five hits.
After play resumed the second time, Russell Branyan provided the Tribe with a big hit in the sixth, a two-run homer, his third home run of the season and third in two nights.
Carmona had problems with his command. In the third, he gave up a leadoff single to Scott Podsednik, who stole second but was thrown out trying to steal third after DeJesus walked with one out. Carmona walked Butler before retiring the side by striking out Jose Guillen.
Despite his uncertain command, Carmona had his sinker working. Of the 15 batters he retired, nine went out on ground balls. Two batters struck out, two more hit pop flies to Peralta at third, and Podsednik was thrown out trying to steal. No outs were recorded by outfielders. [ep
Carmona was followed by a succession of relievers starting in the sixth. Aaron Laffey pitched 12/3 innings but left two runners on for Chris Perez in the seventh. Perez gave up a hit to load the bases before striking out Guillen to end the threat.
Perez yielded a hit and a walk in the eighth, but no runs to give him 11/3 scoreless innings. Tony Sipp worked the ninth, retiring the side in order.
In losing their seventh in a row, the Royals stranded 13 runners and were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.