The Cleveland Indians have yet to lose a road series this season. Based on their history against at U.S. Cellular Field against Chicago's John Danks, they have a good chance to extend that run.
First in the AL Central, the Indians look to continue their road success against Danks in Thursday night's finale of a three-game set against the White Sox.
After struggling to produce in Tuesday's 7-2 series-opening loss at Chicago, Cleveland (12-10) snapped a three-game skid to the White Sox with a 6-3 victory Wednesday. Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer and Travis Hafner added a two-run shot as the Indians improved to 8-3 on the road.
"That's the name of the game,'' said Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan, who drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with a two-out double. "You've got to get guys on, then you've got to get the big hits and put runs on the board."
Though the Indians are 4-7 at Progressive Field, they won each of their previous three road series. Five of their eight road victories have been decided by three or fewer runs.
"We've just been playing good, fundamental and winning a lot of (close) games,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. "It's very satisfying when you know you're not hitting on all cylinders.
"The fact that we haven't played our best baseball yet, it's encouraging."
The Indians put themselves in a good position to continue their road success while facing Danks (2-3, 6.23 ERA).
Though the left-hander managed to earn a win despite giving up four runs and walking five in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-6 victory at Cleveland on April 11, he's 0-4 with a 6.25 ERA in six home starts against the Indians. Danks has yielded 16 runs and 22 hits in 15 innings while losing each of his last three starts versus Cleveland at U.S. Cellular Field.
He's also coming off a rough outing in which he allowed seven runs, six hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-3 home loss to Boston on Friday. That performance added to the frustration Danks has felt during the first month of the season.
"I'm not OK with it at all," Danks told the White Sox official website. "I've stole two wins and I've pitched (poorly) the other ones. That's way too inconsistent. That's the deal. You've got to go out there and I've got to do my job."
Two of Hafner's seven hits in 27 at-bats against Danks have left the park. He snapped a 13-game drought without a homer Wednesday.
Johnny Damon went 0 for 3 in his Indians debut in the middle game of the set before leaving the game with general cramping. It's uncertain if he will be in the lineup Thursday.
Cleveland's Justin Masterson (0-2, 5.40) won his first five starts of 2011, but tries a sixth time to win his first this season Thursday. The right-hander, however, allowed two runs and four hits while walking five in 8 1-3 innings of a 3-2 win over Los Angeles on Friday.
Masterson is 3-5 in 11 starts versus Chicago despite a 2.37 ERA in those outings.
Chicago's Adam Dunn, 6 for 15 (.400) with a home run versus Masterson, hit his sixth homer and second in three games Wednesday.