Peralta and the Indians look to sweep an interleague road series for the first time in three years Sunday when they finish their three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This is the first time Torre is facing the Indians (35-40) since they eliminated his Yankees in four games in last year’s playoffs, with Peralta going 7-for-15 in that series—the last of Torre’s 12-year stint with New York. The Cleveland shortstop has added to his woes in this series with two straight go-ahead hits in extra-inning wins.
The Indians blew a four-run lead before Peralta hit a two-run double in the 10th for a 6-4 victory on Friday. Peralta again snapped a tie with a single that scored Jamey Carroll and triggered a six-run 11th inning in a 7-2 win on Saturday.
“Jamey did a great job starting the inning off (with a single), and Jhonny came through with a big hit,” third baseman Casey Blake told the Indians’ official Web site. “We showed a lot of heart the last two days.”
Peralta is 5-for-10 in this series with four RBIs, and hitting .318 (14-for-44) in interleague play.
Since the Indians swept three games at San Francisco from June 10-12, 2005, they had lost 16 of 24 interleague road games before this series.
Los Angeles (34-40) dropped to 1-7 in interleague play with its sixth straight loss against an AL club. The Dodgers, however, are still in second place in the mediocre NL West and only 4 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona.
Catcher Russell Martin is 5-for-8 in this series after getting three hits Saturday. He’s batting .353 (18-for-51) with 10 RBIs in his last 13 games.
Cleveland starter Paul Byrd (3-7, 5.21 ERA) hopes to provide some innings after failing to record an out past the fourth in losing his last two starts. Byrd went four-plus innings and gave up five runs Tuesday in a 10-2 loss at Colorado.
The veteran right-hander fell to 1-6 in eight road starts with a 7.19 ERA— the second-worst mark in the AL.
Byrd has never beaten the Dodgers, going 0-4 with a 3.82 ERA in five starts and also posting a 10.38 ERA in six relief appearances against them.
The Dodgers will start Chad Billingsley (5-7, 3.54), an Ohio native who grew up in Defiance, about 140 miles from Cleveland. The right-hander has never faced the Indians, and is 0-2 with a 5.31 ERA in four career interleague starts.
He yielded one run over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-1 win at Cincinnati on Tuesday, his first win since May 20 that also ended Los Angeles’ five-game losing streak.
“Before I came on here, I heard a lot of good things about Billingsley,” Torre said. “You can see leadership, take-charge qualities about him.”