Fausto Carmona and Gil Meche have kept their teams in most games. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals have done likewise for their opponents by failing to score enough when they pitch.
Carmona and the AL Central-leading Indians complete a three-game series against Meche and the Royals on Sunday.
The Indians (71-57) are 5-3 entering the final game of their road trip after a 9-4 victory Saturday. Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez each homered for Cleveland, which extended its lead to 2 1/2 games over Detroit in the Central.
“It was good the way we came out and to see us put up the type of ABs and hit the ball the way they did,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “Now we’ve got to start putting days together.”
Carmona (14-8, 3.11 ERA) has just one win in his last five starts despite a 2.43 ERA in that span. The right-hander turned in a quality outing Tuesday at Detroit, limiting the Tigers to a pair of solo homers and three hits total in eight innings, but was on the losing end of a 2-1 score.
“He could’ve thrown a no-hitter,” Indians right fielder Casey Blake said. “They probably hit four balls hard and two of them were homers.”
The Indians have scored only eight runs in Carmona’s last five starts, and five of them came in the victory over Detroit on Aug. 15. Carmona is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts against Kansas City this year giving up just six runs in 20 innings.
As a rookie in 2006, he allowed three runs in 2 2-3 innings in two relief appearances versus the Royals (57-71).
Sizemore is just 2-for-12 lifetime against Meche, but Martinez and Casey Blake each are 6-for-18 with a homer against him.
Like Carmona, a lack of run support has plagued Meche (7-11, 3.88) recently. The right-hander has lost five straight decisions, and the Royals have scored only six runs in his last six starts.
Meche avoided losing a sixth consecutive start on Monday after giving up two runs in 5 2-3 innings as Kansas City rallied from a 2-0 deficit only to lose 4-3.
Meche, whose last win came July 20, defeated the Indians on July 14 despite giving up four runs and eight hits in five innings. It was his first win versus Cleveland since April 23, 2003, and Meche is 2-6 with a 5.83 ERA in 10 lifetime starts against the Indians.
Emil Brown went 4-for-4 for Kansas City, which has lost four of its last six after a three-game winning streak. Brown has hit safely in six consecutive games, going 11-for-22 in that span with a homer and six RBIs, and is 9-for-24 (.375) against the Indians this season.