Indians-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians are just trying to have fun.

Ubaldo Jimenez looks like he's having anything but fun on the mound.

After snapping their longest slide of the season with an offensive barrage, the Indians may need another big display at the plate Sunday, with Jimenez scheduled to start the finale of a three-game set with the Houston Astros.

Cleveland (6-10) broke out offensively Saturday, collecting 22 hits with seven doubles and three homers to pound the Astros 19-6, ending a five-game losing streak. The Indians, who plated 14 runs in the first two innings, were hitting .206 with 11 runs during that slide, which included Friday's 3-2 defeat to Houston (5-12).

"It was finally nice to go out there and relax and know we were in control of the game and just have some fun," said Mark Reynolds, who had two hits and four RBIs with three coming on a homer. "It's what we talked about before the game was just to have fun."

Jason Giambi was surely enjoying himself Saturday, getting a double, a homer and five RBIs in appearing in just his fourth game.

The Indians' bats may need to be productive again since Jimenez (0-2, 11.25 ERA) is 1-12 with a 7.27 ERA in 17 starts, dating to a win over Tampa Bay on July 7.

Manager Terry Francona doesn't care about what happened before he arrived this season.

"Last year is over," Francona told the team's official website. "You can't pitch for last year. It doesn't work. It just makes it harder. So we need to separate that, first of all. We need to figure out, 'What did he do good? What didn't he do good?'

"If you start going back to last August, then he's got no chance."

There hasn't been a lot going right for Jimenez over his last two starts, giving up seven runs in each while getting charged with the defeats.

The right-hander's latest outing was one of the shortest of his career, getting pulled with two outs in the second while surrendering two hits and five walks in a 7-2 loss to Boston on Tuesday.

"You're going to have challenges throughout the season. We knew that coming in," Francona said. "I just think we'd prefer to tackle them as opposed to running away from them."

Francona may feel better about Jimenez facing Houston since he's 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA in six career starts.

The Astros are hoping to see some improvement from Erik Bedard (0-1, 7.04), who is slated to take the mound for the first time since an 11-2 loss at Oakland on Monday.

The veteran left-hander managed one out while surrendering six runs, one homer and four walks. Manager Bo Porter isn't too worried, and that's due to Bedard tossing 7 1-3 scoreless innings over his first two appearances of 2013.

"He just didn't have it," Porter told the team's official website. "I didn't see anything wrong mechanically and there's nothing wrong physically. It was a classic, 'Just one of those nights.'"

Jose Altuve is among the AL's leaders with a .371 average after getting two hits Saturday. The second baseman is a staggering 8 for 15 over the past four games.

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