Angels-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

If the Cleveland Indians are to end their slide, they'll likely need ace Justin Masterson to continue his success against the Los Angeles Angels.

The All-Star right-hander looks to remain undefeated against the Angels and help the Indians avoid going winless on their seven-game homestand Sunday.

Cleveland (62-55) began the home stay winners in 10 of 11 and three games behind AL Central-leading Detroit. However, they were swept in a four-game set by the Tigers and dropped the first two with Los Angeles to fall eight back in the division race. Outscored 37-15 on the homestand, the Indians held an early 1-0 lead but were held to two runs and seven hits for a second straight night after Saturday's 7-2 defeat.

Prior to this homestand, Cleveland had won 11 straight at Progressive Field.

"This is a game where how you handle frustration goes so far in how your season is defined, and we're going to find out,'' said Indians manager Terry Francona, whose team committed a season-high four errors Saturday.

Cleveland has lost four in a row to the Angels (53-62), who lost four straight themselves prior to this series. Los Angeles' last series sweep at Cleveland came Sept. 3-5, 2004.

Including the postseason, Masterson (13-8, 3.46 ERA) is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 14 games against the Angels. He's 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in seven starts against them, but looks to bounce back from his roughest outing in a month.

Masterson had allowed four runs, 15 hits and struck out 29 over 28 innings while going 3-0 in four starts before he gave up five runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 5-1 loss to Detroit on Tuesday.

Josh Hamilton, 8 for 12 with two doubles and two homers versus Masterson, had two hits Saturday. Hamilton is 3 for 7 in this series after he went 2 for 26 with seven strikeouts in his previous seven contests.

Mike Trout went 0 for 4, but had an RBI and drew a walk to extend his on-base streak to 40 games. Orlando Cabrera reached base a franchise-record 63 straight contests in 2006.

Scheduled Los Angeles starter Jerome Williams (5-8, 4.77) is 0-6 with a 7.48 ERA in nine starts since moving back into the rotation June 22. He gave up a run in 7 2-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 2-1 loss at Texas to conclude July, then pitched four scoreless innings before he yielded five runs in the fifth and sixth of a 5-2 defeat to the Rangers on Monday.

"I thought Jerome was a little bit more erratic tonight than maybe we saw in Texas last week," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' official website. "Ball-strike ratio was not good. Overall I don't think he commanded the counts like he can."

The right-hander has never faced Cleveland, but Nick Swisher is 0 for 3 with a walk against him.

Swisher is 5 for 27 in his last eight games after tripling Saturday.

However, teammate Yan Gomes is 18 for 35 (.514) in his last 11 contests.

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