Cleveland (51-35) at Toronto (42-43)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 1:07 pm EDT Sat Jul 7, 2007
  • TV: STO, RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona is enjoying a breakout season for the Indians. Shaun Marcum is headed toward similar success in Toronto.

Carmona tries to help the Indians avoid a season-high fourth straight loss when they continue a three-game series with the Blue Jays on Saturday at Rogers Centre.

In his first season as a full-time starter, Carmona (9-4, 3.78 ERA) has thrown a quality start in all but three of his 16 outings. The right-hander is second on the team in wins behind ace C.C. Sabathia and showed composure in his last game by bouncing back from the worst start of his career.

Carmona held Tampa Bay to two runs, one earned, and four hits over six innings in a 10-2 win on Monday. He walked two and struck out a career-high eight after giving up eight runs in one inning in his previous outing.

“Fausto did a great job,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “You know you’re going to have starts like that over the course of the year. Like anything else, it’s how you respond to it.”

Carmona will be facing Toronto (42-43) for the first time.

The Blue Jays will hand the ball to Marcum (4-2, 2.86), who began the season in the bullpen before joining the rotation on May 13 when Victor Zambrano went on the disabled list.

Marcum has gone 3-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 10 starts while holding opponents to a .188 batting average.

“He’s taken the role and run with it,” pitching coach Brad Arnsberg told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “His command continues to improve. He never, ever gives in to hitters. He pitches on the edges and off the edges as well as any young kid that I’ve seen.”

Marcum is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four career games, including two starts, versus the Indians (51-35).

He has struggled to get much support in 2007, though, as the Blue Jays have been held to one or no runs in six of his starts. The right-hander pitched 6 2-3 scoreless innings and scattered six hits on Sunday, but didn’t factor into the 2-1 defeat to Seattle.

Toronto hasn’t had any problem scoring at home lately, winning four straight games there while averaging 8.3 runs and batting .345. The Blue Jays opened their final home stretch before the All-Star break with an 8-6 win over the Indians on Friday.

It was just their fifth win in the last 21 meetings. Toronto’s Vernon Wells went 2-for-4 with a homer and drove in three runs. He is batting .354 (17-for-48) with seven homers and 15 RBIs in 12 games as the Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter.

“It came at the same time that I was making adjustments in my swing,” said Wells, who switched to a lighter bat and opened his stance when he moved to the top of the order. “It’s just coincidence it happened when I got to the 1-hole.”

Wells is hitting a career-low .258 while enduring a difficult season.

Reed Johnson, who began the season as the Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter, returned on Friday after missing nearly three months with a herniated disk in his back that required surgery. Toronto will be without third baseman Troy Glaus this weekend after he fouled a ball off his left foot on Wednesday.

Cleveland third baseman Casey Blake went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double Friday to boost his average to .302 on the road.

The Indians fell out of first place, dropping percentage points behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

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R. Hernández Hou vs. S. Marcum Cle
19-8 Record 12-6
3.06 ERA 4.13
137 K 122
61 BB 49
1.21 WHIP 1.25

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jul 7