Indians-Rays Preview

The Associated Press

While the Cleveland Indians' lengthy road slide is in the past, the Tampa Bay Rays continue to struggle at home.

The Indians can extend their season-high winning streak to five games by sending the Rays to their first seven-game home skid in 12 years Saturday night.

Mike Aviles' three-run homer highlighted a five-run seventh inning, and Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera also went deep as Cleveland (17-19) snapped a seven-game road skid with a 6-3 win Friday. The Indians have averaged 5.8 runs during a four-game run that followed a stretch of eight losses in 10 contests.

Seeing more time in place of the injured Jason Kipnis, Aviles is 9 for 14 in his last four games. He's 4 for 10 with five RBIs in his last three versus Tampa Bay (15-21).

"I think he knows that we respect him a lot and what he can do," manager Terry Francona told the Indians' official website.

Brantley is batting .368 with three home runs and 11 RBIs during his last nine contests, while Cabrera has homered in two straight and is 9 for 13 with four RBIs in the last three.

Cabrera and Brantley are a combined 8 for 20 versus scheduled Rays starter Erik Bedard (1-1, 4.35 ERA).

The left-hander has allowed one run in each of his last two starts that also both came on the road. He lasted a season-high six innings during a 5-1 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sunday after going 0-9 with a 5.06 ERA in his previous 15 starts since beating St. Louis on June 26.

"I didn't realize how long it's been," Bedard said.

It's been much longer since Bedard beat the Indians, going 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA in eight starts since winning at Progressive Field with Baltimore on July 8, 2006. If that drought is to end, Bedard needs to be better in Tampa, where he's yielded eight runs, 11 hits and walked six in 7 2-3 innings in two 2014 starts.

The Rays are hoping to avoid their longest home slide since dropping nine in a row in 2002.

Tampa Bay pitchers have a 5.21 ERA during the last six at home where the team's offense has totaled 10 runs in the last four.

"Primarily, we have not hit,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''I mean, you look at the bullpen and we had one bad inning (Friday)."

Tampa Bay's David DeJesus, however, had four hits with two RBIs on Friday. He's 9 for 17 (.529) in his last five games after hitting .197 (13 for 66) in his first 24 this season.

Teammate Evan Longoria is batting .400 in his last six home games versus Cleveland, and is 2 for 6 against scheduled starter Zach McAllister (3-2, 3.18).

The right-hander allowed nine runs in 9 1-3 innings to lose his final two starts of April, but opened May by yielding five hits and striking out eight over 6 2-3 innings of a 1-0, 10-inning loss to Minnesota on Monday.

McAllister went 1-0 with an 0.77 ERA in two starts versus Tampa Bay in 2012, but was 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA against the Rays in 2013.

What to Read Next