The Cleveland Indians haven’t won back-to-back games in more than two weeks. Their dominating pitching duo is trying to end that drought.
The Indians look to continue their success against the Texas Rangers when they meet Friday in the second game of a four-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Cleveland (56-39) won six in a row from June 28-July 3, but is 5-7 since. Ace left-hander C.C. Sabathia wasn’t at his best Thursday, but pitched well enough to lead the Indians to a 7-5 win over Texas and become the first 13-game winner in the majors.
“He had to work real hard for it, but he never gave into it,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge, whose team trails Detroit by two games in the AL Central. “That goes a long way with me. That goes a long way for us.”
Now the Indians will try for consecutive victories for the first time since that six-game winning streak when they hand the ball to Fausto Carmona (11-4, 3.77 ERA). The right-hander is enjoying a breakout season and looks to win his fourth straight start.
He held Kansas City to two runs and eight hits over seven innings in a 5-3 victory Sunday.
“I’m very confident now,” Carmona told the Indians’ official Web site. “I feel I can pitch this way for the rest of the season.”
With his latest win, Carmona improved to 8-0 with a 1.98 ERA in nine day starts, compared to 3-4 with a 6.00 ERA in nine night games. He lost his only career start against the Rangers when he gave up six runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 7-5 defeat on April 29, 2006.
Cleveland has won all won all three meetings with Texas this season and five straight overall.
Indians first baseman Ryan Garko extended his hitting streak to 13 games Thursday and is batting .467 (21-for-45) with three homers, eight doubles and 10 RBIs during that stretch.
McCarthy gave up four runs - three earned - and six hits over six innings Sunday, and didn’t factor in the decision in a 5-4, 11-inning win over the Los Angeles Angels. He walked two and struck out four, and is 0-2 with a 5.16 ERA over his last five starts.
McCarthy (4-6, 5.59) hasn’t had much support during that stretch, though, as the Rangers didn’t score a run in four of those outings.
“When you get runs, you take them. If you don’t, you know at some point you’ll get them,” McCarthy said. “It’ll all average out as the season goes on. So my job is just to keep pitching well and throwing up zeros, whether we’re scoring runs or not. I got two runs today and didn’t make it hold up, and I was livid about it when I left the game.”
McCarthy is 3-1 with a 6.16 ERA in 10 games, including two starts, against the Indians. He threw two scoreless innings of relief in Texas’ 8-7 loss at Cleveland on April 25.
The Rangers (41-54) placed reliever Akinori Otsuka on the 15-day disabled list Thursday after an MRI exam determined the right-hander has inflammation in his forearm that is causing pain in his elbow.
Texas was also without shortstop Michael Young on Thursday after the death of his wife’s grandmother in Southern California. He’s expected to miss Friday’s contest as well and rejoin the team Saturday.
The Rangers are trying to avoid losing three in a row for the first time since June 10-13.