Coming off their most productive offensive effort in two years, the Indians look for a fifth consecutive win over the Royals and a sweep of the two-game set at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night.
After its last two games with Seattle were postponed due to rain, Cleveland (25-13) eagerly returned to action and scored 10 runs in the fourth inning of Monday’s 19-1 win over Kansas City.
Michael Brantley(notes) hit a three-run homer and Travis Hafner(notes) added a bases-loaded double in the frame to mark the second time this season the AL Central-leading Indians scored 10 runs in an inning. Brantley and Matt LaPorta(notes) each had four RBIs during the Indians’ biggest outburst since scoring 22 runs at New York on April 18, 2009.
“On those days when the pitchers are not on top of their game, these guys can really work a number on them,” Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Cleveland has hit .328 and averaged 7.9 runs while going 6-2 against the Royals (20-20) this season, and outscored them 43-9 during its four-game winning streak in the series.
The Indians broke out hours after they placed star Grady Sizemore(notes) on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised knee. The club does not believe the injury is serious for Sizemore, batting .282 with six homers with 11 RBIs in 33 games.
“The good news is the extent of it is extremely mild,” team trainer Lonnie Solooff said. “So we’re hopeful the amount of time disabled is on the short end of 15 days.”
Brantley, Sizemore’s replacement in center field, is 8 for 20 with three homers and eight RBIs his last five games. He’s a lifetime .316 hitter versus Kansas City.
Hafner has hit .371 with 13 RBIs in his last 21 games.
Cleveland was originally scheduled to face Vin Mazzaro(notes) on Tuesday, but the right-hander was used in relief in the opener and charged with 14 runs in 2 1-3 innings to become the third major league pitcher since 1947 to allow that many runs in a game. He was immediately sent down to Triple-A Omaha after the contest.
“It’s tough. It was a tough game,” Mazzaro said. “It’s a funny game. You’ve just got to keep battling.”
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in three starts versus Cleveland, but allowed two runs and struck out six in six innings before leaving without a decision in a 3-2 loss to the Indians on April 21.
O’Sullivan picked up a win Thursday after he gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 11-5 win at Yankee Stadium.
Cleveland counters with Carlos Carrasco(notes) (1-2, 5.29), who looks to bounce back after he surrendered four runs in five innings of an 8-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday that snapped the Indians’ 14-game home winning streak.
The right-hander was more effective when he gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-3, 10-inning win at Kansas City on April 18. Carrasco is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts against the Royals.