The Cleveland Indians head into Philadelphia as one of the hottest teams in baseball and are hoping to stay that way by repeating their most recent performances against the Phillies.
The Indians will seek their 14th win in 18 contests in the opener of a two-game series Tuesday night.
Cleveland (21-16) earned another victory in its brief return home Monday as Jason Kipnis hit a solo home run in a 1-0 win over the New York Yankees. The Indians, though, fell 7-0 in the finale of a doubleheader that was required because of a pair of rainouts in April.
The Indians are visiting Philadelphia with four wins in their last five on the road and will try to add to that by duplicating their splendid performance earlier this season against the Phillies (18-21).
Cleveland outscored Philadelphia 20-2 and posted a 31-8 advantage in hits during a two-game home sweep April 30-May 1.
The Indians will try to win another game with help from Scott Kazmir (2-1, 4.87 ERA), who will seek his third victory in as many starts. The left-hander gave up one run and five hits over six innings in a 9-2 win over Oakland on Thursday.
Kazmir has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last three outings.
“I just feel comfortable, and I feel confident out there,” Kazmir told the team’s official website. “And I feel like it’s going to get better and better.”
Kazmir is 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts against Philadelphia. He hasn’t faced the Phillies since making two starts in the 2008 World Series while with Tampa Bay.
In this matchup, he’ll pitch opposite 22-year-old rookie Jonathan Pettibone (2-0, 3.63). The right-hander has given up three runs or fewer in each of his first four major league starts but did not get a decision in a 4-3 loss in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Pettibone gave up three runs, seven hits and a career-high four walks in 5 2-3 innings. The Phillies had won in each of his other three outings.
“Kind of each time out, you get more and more comfortable,” Pettibone told the Phillies’ official website. “Your confidence gets up each time out. You just kind of build off that. From there, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. All you can do is focus start to start and go from there.”
Pettibone will next try to help Philadelphia to its third three-game win streak in 2013. The Phillies matched a season best with 15 hits in a 4-2 win in 10 innings at Arizona on Sunday.
Ryan Howard hit a two-run single in the 10th after going hitless with 10 strikeouts in his previous 18 at-bats.
“My frustration level coming in to today? I don’t know if I can really put a number on it,” Howard said. “It’s definitely been frustrating. Upset. Ticked off. But you just try to keep separating each at-bat. And I was able to get one to fall.”
Philadelphia is hosting Cleveland for the second time. The Phillies recorded a three-game sweep in the other visit June 22-24, 2010.