On the heels of a 10-3 Angels’ win Friday, the Indians (28-27) returned the favor on Saturday by scoring eight runs in the sixth inning en route to a 14-2 victory.
“We’ve been through this before,” Los Angeles starter Kevin Escobar said after being ripped for eight runs in Saturday’s loss. “You have to come back and play hard. Hopefully we’ll have better results.”
Indians first baseman Travis Hafner hit his major league-leading third grand slam—and 15th homer—of the season while finishing 3-for-4 and matching a career high with six RBIs. He’d gone five straight games without driving in a run.
Garret Anderson was the only bright spot for the Angels (24-31) on Saturday, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. It was his fifth multihit effort in eight games, raising his average from .259 to .280 in that span while driving in 11 runs.
The teams have combined for 33 hits and five home runs in the series, though three Los Angeles errors on Saturday led to 10 unearned runs for Cleveland.
“Anytime you take advantage of opportunities, it will help you get the momentum and hurt the other team,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Wedge’s team will go for a fifth win in six games as he sends left-hander C.C. Sabathia (5-1, 1.71) to the mound.
Sabathia has won three straight starts and five of six since spending a month on the disabled list with a strained abdominal muscle. His most recent performance was his worst since returning but he still managed to beat the Chicago White Sox, allowing three runs—two earned—and seven hits in six innings of a 4-3 victory on Tuesday.
Sabathia, who had thrown complete games in his previous two outings, is 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA since Aug. 5, 2005. He has surrendered five earned runs in his last 40 innings, walking four and striking out 36.
“I’m feeling great,” Sabathia said. “I can go out there with a clear mind and make my pitches.”
In nine career starts against the Angels, he’s 3-4 with a 4.72 ERA.
Right-hander John Lackey (3-3, 3.36) will face Sabathia as he goes for his first win since April 26.
After going 3-1 in April, Lackey lost his first two starts in May and did not get a decision in his final four outings of the month.
He pitched well in a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Minnesota on Monday, allowing three runs—two earned—and striking out seven in eight innings.
Lackey is 2-3 with a 2.59 career ERA against the Indians.