Another dramatic victory and the acquisition of an All-Star pitcher in the same day might provide the boost the Cleveland Indians need to remain a serious contender in the AL Central.
The Indians look to win consecutive games for the first time in almost two weeks Sunday against the visiting Kansas City Royals.
On the same night Cleveland (53-51) acquired 2010 19-game winner Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) from Colorado for four prospects, Matt LaPorta’s(notes) walkoff three-run homer highlighted a four-run ninth inning and helped the Indians snap a three-game skid with a 5-2 victory over Kansas City on Saturday.
The 12th victory in their last at-bat was just the second win in nine games for the Indians, who are 1 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit. An emotional win and the addition of a potential staff ace could help Cleveland get back on track.
“These kids are going for this, trying to win however they can,” said manager Manny Acta, whose club has averaged 2.0 runs over the last nine games.
Though Jimenez is 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA this season, the move proves the Indians are serious about making a run at the postseason this year.
“That’s the fun part about being traded to a team like that because right now they’re in a good position,” said Jimenez, who allowed four runs in the only inning he pitched for Colorado at San Diego on Saturday. “They’re fighting for first place.”
After losing 12-0 in Friday’s series opener, Cleveland rallied to score all its runs over the last two innings Saturday. Carlos Santana(notes) and LaPorta each had two hits while Kosuke Fukudome(notes), acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
LaPorta is hitting .239 this year, but .367 (11 for 30) with two homers and 10 RBIs versus Kansas City.
Fausto Carmona(notes) (5-10, 5.34 ERA) looks for a third straight quality start when he takes the mound for the Indians in the finale. The right-hander has allowed two runs over 12 innings in two starts since a brief stint on the disabled list (strained right quadriceps).
He gave up four hits without a run but did not factor in the decision of Cleveland’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
Carmona, 6-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 14 starts versus Kansas City (45-62), yielded two runs in seven innings of an 8-2 win over the Royals on April 28.
The rookie left-hander is coming off his worst performance, allowing six runs in 3 2-3 innings at Boston on Tuesday but not getting a decision in a 13-9 defeat. He had allowed two runs in five of his previous six starts.
Duffy, who has a 9.49 ERA in his last three starts on the road, is facing Cleveland for the first time.