Indians go for third straight over Twins
MAY 08, 2014 8:45a ET
The Indians will try to conclude this four-game set with a third straight victory over the Twins on Thursday.
Cleveland (15-19) opened the series with its third consecutive home loss this season to Minnesota, 1-0 in 10 innings, before regrouping to win the next two. Mike Aviles' two-out RBI single in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 4-3 victory gave the Indians their first walk-off win after recording 11 last season.
"We're playing at home and when you hit last you always feel like you have a chance," said manager Terry Francona, whose team is 4-2 on a seven-game homestand that followed an 0-6 trip versus San Francisco and the Los Angeles Angels.
Aviles had three hits and Michael Brantley added two with two RBIs for the Indians, who continue to build confidence while improving to 3-3 at home against the Twins (15-17).
"We're just kind of leaning on one another, it's a good locker room," said Brantley, who is batting .381 with 11 RBIs during an 11-game home hitting streak.
He's batting .375 (9 for 24) with six RBIs in six games versus Minnesota this season.
Scheduled Cleveland starter Justin Masterson (1-1, 4.01 ERA) hopes for a better effort against the Twins after they roughed him up for six runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 10-7 loss April 6 in which he did not earn a decision.
Though the right-hander has yielded 11 runs and 15 hits in 10 1-3 innings over his last two home starts versus Minnesota, he hopes to build on Saturday's outing when he gave up four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 2-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
"It's nice to go out and pitch well," said Masterson, who was 0-2 with a 4.68 ERA in his previous eight starts. "Anytime you're not doing as well as you hoped, it's hard not to press."
Minnesota's Brian Dozier is 6 for 12 with two doubles versus Masterson, and had two RBIs on Wednesday as the Twins dropped their second straight after winning three in a row.
Scheduled Minnesota starter Kevin Correia (1-3, 6.09) allowed eight runs in 2 1-3 innings of a 10-6 loss to Detroit on April 25, then yielded one in seven innings of a 6-1 victory over Baltimore on Saturday. The right-hander was 0-6 with a 5.82 ERA in his previous nine starts.
"I felt like I've thrown some games where I've had a good chance to win a game," he said. "It just puts more pressure on you every time you go out there so it's nice to get that first one."
Correia is 0-2 with a 4.22 ERA at Cleveland.
Aviles is 5 for 7 in this series and 3 for 3 with a double versus Correia. Brantley, however, is 1 for 8 against him.
The Indians hope to have outfielder Michael Bourn available Thursday after he missed the last four games with a tight hamstring.
Twins star Joe Mauer, however, could miss his fourth in a row with back spasms.