After being hit hard in his past few starts, Pavano looks to bounce back Wednesday night when the Pirates and Indians continue their three-game set at PNC Park.
Pavano (6-5, 5.73 ERA) had a rough April after signing a one-year deal with the Indians (30-42) in the offseason, going 0-3 with a 9.50 ERA.
The veteran right-hander then went 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his next eight starts, but has since reverted back to his early-season struggles. He gave up nine runs over 4 2-3 innings in a loss to Kansas City on June 10, then allowed six runs and nine hits over five innings without getting a decision on June 15 in a wild 14-12 loss to Milwaukee.
“I was inconsistent,” Pavano told the Indians’ official Web site. “They put up runs for me, and my job is to put up zeros, but I didn’t do it.”
Right shoulder soreness pushed back Pavano’s turn in the rotation to Wednesday, and he’ll be looking to help the Indians string together consecutive wins for the first time since June 11-12.
Pavano is 3-4 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 starts against the Pirates (31-39), whom he hasn’t faced since 2004 while with Florida.
Cleveland appeared to have this series opener well in hand Tuesday as it carried a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Rookie David Huff’s(notes) eight shutout innings almost went to waste after Matt Herges(notes) and Kerry Wood(notes) allowed four runs, but Wood got Adam LaRoche(notes) to fly out to seal a 5-4 win.
“We knew we weren’t going to get the W the easy way,” Wood said. “It was ugly, but we got it done.”
The Indians’ relief corps is 0-4 with an 8.78 ERA in its last seven games, with Wood’s save Tuesday the team’s first in four opportunities in that stretch.
Even thought it snapped a six-game losing streak, Cleveland’s best news of the day came when center fielder Grady Sizemore(notes) was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Sizemore hadn’t played since May 30 because of left elbow inflammation.
He went 2 for 5 with a triple, two RBIs and an excellent over-the-shoulder catch on a fly ball from catcher Robinson Diaz.
“The triple, the catch in center field, you could feel his energy out there,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We’re a different ballclub with him in the lineup, no doubt about it.”
The Pirates, meanwhile, fell to 7-34 when they fail to score more than four runs.
“We were dead the whole game,” said LaRoche, who started the ninth-inning rally with a homer and is hitting .362 at home. “We’ve had so many games go into the seventh, the eighth with four or five hits, and it’s not against Cy Young pitchers.
“We’ve got to do more damage early and not rely on getting the setup guy and the closer every night.”
Zach Duke(notes) (7-5, 3.18) has been the Pirates’ best pitcher, but if Pittsburgh’s offense is struggling, the left-hander hasn’t fared well. The Pirates have scored a total of four runs in Duke’s five losses.
They didn’t score any during his six innings Thursday at Minnesota, when he allowed three runs and seven hits in a 5-1 loss.
Duke is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA against the Indians.