Cincinnati (25-21) at Cleveland (28-15)

Fair Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun May 22, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Another home victory has the Cleveland Indians in position to sweep the Cincinnati Reds for the first time in almost seven years.

The AL Central-leading Indians look to accomplish that feat Sunday as the Reds try to avoid a season-high fifth straight defeat.

After overcoming a four-run deficit to beat Cincinnati 5-4 in the series opener, Cleveland (28-15) needed to rally from only one run down for a 2-1 win Saturday. Josh Tomlin(notes) threw seven solid innings and Travis Buck(notes) hit a two-run homer in the seventh to help the Indians improve to a major league-best 17-4 at Progressive Field, where for the first time in their last seven home triumphs they didn’t wait until the last at-bat to win.

“The Tribe at home, late. Seven, eight, nine (innings), we score, so hang in there because it’s a lot of fun,” reliever Vinnie Pestano(notes) said.

The Indians, who have managed only five hits in each of the first two games this weekend, can nonetheless sweep the Reds (25-21) for the first time since June 11-13, 2004. Cleveland has won three in a row over Cincinnati in all after dropping 16 of the previous 22 against its in-state rival from the southwest.

“That’s just the way it goes sometimes,” said Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey(notes), who took a one-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday but suffered the tough-luck loss. “They’re going to have their day and we’re going to have ours.”

Scott Rolen(notes) drove in the lone run for the Reds, who rank among the major league leaders with 233 runs scored but have totaled eight during their four-game skid.

“They’re pitching well against us and they’re getting whatever hits they need,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence.”

Rolen is 1 for 11 in his last three games against the Indians, while reigning NL MVP Joey Votto(notes) is 3 for 19 in his last six versus Cleveland.

The Reds, who last lost five straight Sept. 5-9, hope to break out when they face Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco(notes) (2-2, 5.03 ERA) for the first time.

The right-hander allowed two runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-3 win at Kansas City on Tuesday to improve to 1-1 in two starts since coming off the disabled list (elbow tightness).

“I feel great,” Carrasco said. “I feel I can throw my fastball.”

Cincinnati counters with Edinson Volquez(notes) (3-1, 5.59), who allowed three runs, three hits and struck out a season-high nine in six innings but did not factor in the decision of a 7-5 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

The right-hander also gave up a season-low one walk after issuing at least four in each of his previous three outings.

“I got a good grip (on the ball),” Volquez told the Reds’ official website. “I saw the ball spinning back to me. That’s what I want.”

Volquez is 1-1 with a 9.39 ERA in two starts against the Indians, but has not faced them since 2008, or ever at Progressive Field.

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) is hitless in two at-bats against Volquez, but is batting .333 with two homers and six RBIs over his last 12 games.

Cleveland leads 36-35 in the all-time series with Cincinnati.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Vólquez KC vs. C. Carrasco Cle
5-7 Record 8-9
5.71 ERA 4.62
104 K 85
65 BB 40
1.57 WHIP 1.36


Sunday, May 22