Sabathia will try for his fifth win Sunday when the Indians continue their four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Off to the best start of his seven-year career, Sabathia (4-0, 3.38 ERA) tries to join Boston’s Josh Beckett as the only American League pitchers with at least five wins. Beckett has six.
To do that, Sabathia will try to cool down the Orioles (13-16), who won the first two games of the series after losing nine of their previous 10 contests. Cleveland (17-10) has lost two in a row since winning 10 of 11, and is percentage points ahead of Detroit for first place in the AL Central.
The 26-year-old Sabathia is 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA in eight starts against Baltimore and has allowed just three runs in his last four outings against the Orioles.
“As long as we win the games when I’m on the mound, I feel good,” Sabathia told the Indians’ official Web site. “I don’t care much about my personal record. I just want to be able to pitch in the playoffs. For me to do that, we’re going to have to win pretty much every game I start.”
The left-hander allowed three runs on three first-inning homers and four hits in six innings of the Indians’ 12-4 win over Toronto on Tuesday as Cleveland improved to 6-0 when he starts.
“He did a great job of coming back,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He did a great job of making adjustments. He’s our horse.”
Baltimore matched a season-high with 13 hits in its 8-2 win on Saturday.
Ramon Hernandez had a three-run homer and four RBIs, Jay Payton went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Miguel Tejada went 2-for-3 with a run driven in for the Orioles, who scored more than seven runs for the first time in 17 games.
Hernandez, who missed the first 3 1/2 weeks with a rib injury, has 10 RBIs in eight games in 2007.
“I’m just trying to see the ball, make good contact on it and hit it on a good spot,” said Hernandez.
Tejada is hitting .333 (8-for-24) with two doubles and two homers against Sabathia. He is batting .350 for the season.
Brian Burres (0-0, 1.35 ERA) will make his first career start Sunday for the Orioles. The left-hander takes the place of Adam Loewen, who will miss most of the season with a stress fracture in his elbow.
Burres has allowed two runs over 13 1-3 innings in six relief appearances for the Orioles. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out six in four scoreless innings at Cleveland last Sunday.
“We’re familiar with him a little bit, so we’ll be able to prepare,” Wedge said. “He pitched well against us.”
Victor Martinez went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer Saturday for the Indians to raise his average to .338.
The teams wrap up the series on Monday.