Playing at home in recent weeks, the Cleveland Indians have been living by an old baseball adage: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
With their last six wins at Progressive Field coming in the final at-bat, the surging Indians will try to improve the best record in the major leagues as they continue a weekend interleague series with the cross-state rival Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
Ezequiel Carrera(notes) - called up from Triple-A earlier in the day when slugger Travis Hafner(notes) was lost for up to four weeks with a strained oblique - pinch hit for Duncan in the eighth and bunted home Shin-Soo Choo(notes) with the go-ahead run in the Indians’ 5-4 win.
“Sometimes these guys come up to the big leagues, they are unknown and they can make a big impact and win a couple games for you,” manager Manny Acta had said of Carrera before the game.
Afterward, Acta was beaming.
“All you need is a hit,” he said. “You don’t need an extra base, anything like that. … He executed it perfectly. He’s done that his whole life. He was perfect for that.”
After a lackluster two-plus seasons with Washington, Acta has guided the Indians (27-15) to the big leagues’ best record thanks to a 16-4 mark in Cleveland. They’re on pace for 65 home wins this season after averaging 42 over the last decade.
The right-hander barely broke a sweat in the Indians’ 19-1 rout at Kansas City on Monday, getting lifted after giving up a run and five hits over six innings.
“I was up there still trying to take the same approach and pitch like it was a tie ballgame,” said Tomlin, who is tied with Justin Masterson(notes) for the team lead in wins. “Sometimes you can lose focus a little bit. But for the most part, it puts you at ease a little bit and you can go after them.”
Tomlin has surrendered two runs or fewer in five of eight starts this year. This will be his first appearance against an NL club.
The Reds will look to avoid a season high-tying fourth straight loss following a five-game winning streak comprised of sweeps of NL Central rivals St. Louis and Chicago.
The right-hander, who went 4-3 with a 4.46 ERA over 19 starts in 2010, remained unbeaten Monday despite struggling against the Cubs. Bailey gave up four runs over six innings, but was bailed out when the Reds plated seven in the bottom of the sixth.
“Homer must be living right because that doesn’t happen too often,” manager Dusty Baker told the Reds’ official website.
Bailey is 2-0 in four career games against the Indians, but has posted a 7.56 ERA versus them while walking 18 in only 16 2-3 innings.