The Cleveland Indians were hoping for a better start to their homestand. Now, they have a chance to salvage it against a team they have dominated recently.
The Indians (60-45) have won five of six from the Rangers (46-59) this season, including two of three in Cleveland in April.
The Indians are 2-5 so far on their 10-game homestand after losing the final two games of their weekend set versus Minnesota. The Indians lost 4-1 on Sunday despite 7 2-3 strong innings from ace C.C. Sabathia, who gave up just one unearned run but failed to become the first AL pitcher with 14 wins.
Second baseman Josh Barfield made two errors on one play as the Twins scored three runs in the eighth.
“We have to play with a certain swagger,” Indians outfielder Trot Nixon said. “I believe we are capable of special things. You are going to make mistakes and sometimes it looks like things get individual, but it is a team game.”
That defeat, combined with the Tigers’ road loss to the Angels, kept Cleveland one-half game behind Detroit in the AL Central.
Sabathia was coming off a 1-0 loss in a matchup against Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka on Tuesday, but Carmona (13-4, 3.31 ERA) picked him up with a 1-0 win over the Red Sox and Josh Beckett the following day.
Carmona, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, matched his career high by winning his fifth straight start and has a 1.57 ERA in July. The right-hander, who lost 10 straight decisions last season and his first this year, also won five straight starts April 24-May 17 and went on to win seven consecutive decisions before a June 12 loss in Florida.
“He continues to just go out there and get it done,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge told the Indians’ official team Web site of Carmona, who comes in with an 18-inning scoreless streak.
On July 20, Carmona squared off against Brandon McCarthy (4-7, 5.52 ERA), who starts the opener for Texas, and threw eight scoreless innings to earn the 3-2 win. McCarthy gave up three runs in 5 2-3 innings and fell to 3-2 with a 5.84 ERA in 11 career appearances with three starts against the Indians.
On Tuesday, McCarthy will be trying for his first win since May 20 at Houston. He is 0-3 with a 5.13 ERA in seven starts since then and spent nearly a month on the disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger.
McCarthy gave up three runs in five innings Wednesday, but didn’t get a decision as the Rangers capped a four-game sweep of the Mariners with a 7-6 win. But the Rangers followed that up by dropping three straight in Kansas City including a 10-0 defeat on Sunday.
“I thought we’d come in here and play better but it didn’t happen,” Texas manager Ron Washington told the Rangers’ official Web site. “They scored 22 runs in three games, we scored six. I didn’t expect that. They outscored us, they outpitched us and they outplayed us.”
First baseman Mark Teixeira went 1-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to seven games in what may have been his last game with the Rangers. Along with closer Eric Gagne, he has been the subject of rumors as Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches.