Preview Arizona at Cleveland
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Indians got themselves back into the American League wild card mix over the weekend. Now they'll try to go over .500 on Tuesday when they start a brief two-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Progressive Field.
Cleveland moved within five games of the second wild card thanks to two straight wins over the New York Yankees. Jason Kipnis powered the Tribe in Sunday's rubber match, as he had three hits and scored three times in the Indians' 4-1 win.
"He kind of makes us go," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kipnis. "He can steal bases, he can go first to third, he can hit the ball in the gap. When he's hitting the ball how he is ... we're a much better team."
Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes had two RBI each for Cleveland, which had lost four in a row before taking the final two games in the Bronx.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (4-4) earned the win in his first start since April 25, tossing five innings of two-hit ball. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter to earn his first win as a starter this season (1-3) and first win overall since July 19.
Hoping to deliver Cleveland another gem on Tuesday will be lefty T.J. House, who is 1-3 with a 4.13 ERA. House absorbed the loss in Cincinnati on Thursday, as he allowed four runs (3 earned) and eight hits in six innings.
Despite the setback, House has pitched to a 2.45 ERA in two starts since coming back from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 2.
Arizona, meanwhile, will counter with righty Josh Collmenter, who has lost two of his last three decisions and has just one win since June 28. Collmenter was defeated by Kansas City his last time out, despite a decent effort that saw him surrender three runs and three hits in six innings.
"The team gave me a chance, got back in it," said Collmenter, who picked up a win in relief over the Tribe back in June. "Went out to have a shutdown inning, got the first two guys, and then walked two guys and gave up a hit, and that was the difference in the game. So that was all on me. The guys played well, put pressure on them a bunch of times, even coming back there in the ninth. But I'll take that one. It's unacceptable"
Arizona enters this series having lost four of six, but did capture a series win over the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. The D-backs were denied a three-game sweep, though, as they lost, 5-3, in 10 innings on Sunday.
"We had a lot of opportunities," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. "Other than that, we had an opportunity to win that game in the ninth inning, and we let it slip away. That's a game we should win."
Arizona split two games with the Indians back in June.