One night after a dramatic come-from-behind victory, the Cleveland Indians look to win three straight for the first time in nearly a month as they continue a four-game series with the Oakland Athletics.
The Indians (45-31) have played two solid games against Oakland (39-37), winning 5-2 in Monday’s series opener before rallying from a 5-3 deficit in the ninth inning Tuesday to win 8-5. They have plated 13 runs in the first two games of this series after totaling just two runs over the weekend while dropping two of three contests at Washington.
“It was exciting,” Shoppach said. “I ran harder than usual because I was in a hurry to get beat up.”
Hafner came into the series against Oakland batting .197 in June, but is 3-for-8 with a homer and four RBIs in the first two games of this set.
“All signs indicate he’s moving in the right direction,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “I think you’re going to see that translate into the games, too.”
The victory - Cleveland’s sixth in nine games - pulled the Indians into a tie with the Detroit Tigers for first place in the AL Central. They will now try to win three in a row for the first time since May 30-June 1.
“This team always has a chance, it really does,” said Shoppach. “It’s a pretty special club. We all believe in one another.”
Just about any team seems to have a chance right now against Oakland, which has dropped a season-high five consecutive games - all on its current 10-game road trip. The A’s have managed only 10 runs during the skid - their longest since losing seven in a row from May 20-26, 2006.
The current skid has Oakland in third place in the AL West, nine games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels.
Indians starter Fausto Carmona (8-3, 3.21 ERA) looks to avoid losing back-to-back starts for the first time this season when he takes the mound Wednesday.
Carmona has alternated wins and losses in his last four starts after winning his previous six decisions. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed three runs season high-tying 10 hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss to the Nationals on Friday.
Carmona won at Oakland on May 12, when he allowed three runs in seven innings of a 6-3 victory.
Athletics left-hander Lenny DiNardo (2-4, 2.35), has struggled while losing his last two starts, yielding 11 runs in only nine total innings. He allowed seven hits and six runs - two earned - in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-1 loss to the New York Mets on Friday.
DiNardo has no decisions in four relief appearances against Cleveland, giving up two runs over 6 1-3 innings in those outings.