Tribe turns to Tomlin in hopes of ending 5-game road skid
After slowing down the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers are hoping to get on a roll.
The Rangers go for a third consecutive home victory - something they haven't done in six weeks - as they face the road-challenged Indians on Saturday.
Texas (31-30) has followed a 1-4 stretch with back-to-back wins after taking Friday's opener 6-4. Both victories were at home, prior to which the Rangers had lost 12 of 16 in Arlington since winning five straight there April 15-19.
Michael Choice has homered in both games, including a go-ahead solo shot in the seventh inning Friday, and fellow rookie Rougned Odor had a two-run homer as Texas snapped the Indians' season-best six-game winning streak.
Cleveland (30-31) hit .323 with runners in scoring position during that run but was 1 for 10 on Friday. Asdrubal Cabrera went 3 for 5 with his sixth homer and Lonnie Chisenhall added a three-run shot.
The Indians, a major league-worst 9-20 on the road, have managed 11 runs during a five-game skid away from home.
"It's just one of those things," Chisenhall said. "I know we were playing well at home and not well on the road. That's just a fact. It doesn't feel that way during the game."
Cleveland now turns to Josh Tomlin (3-2, 3.06 ERA). He allowed three runs - two earned - and matched a career high with eight strikeouts over 5 2-3 innings in Sunday's 6-4 walkoff win over Colorado. The right-hander is averaging a career-best 8.35 strikeouts per nine innings.
"That's when the strikeouts are going to come, especially for me. When you get ahead of a guy and you're 0-2, 1-2, you have a few pitches to play with," Tomlin told MLB's official website. "... If you locate those pitches you have a pretty good chance."
In his lone appearance against Texas, Tomlin did not get a decision as he threw seven innings of two-run ball in a 5-3 road loss Aug. 7, 2011.
He will need to be careful with Choice, who is batting .323 with three homers, three doubles and seven RBIs in his last 10 games. The former top prospect has raised his average 31 points over that stretch to .221.
"I feel like I started out kind of passive at the plate, trying to feel guys out," said Choice, acquired from Oakland in December. "And lately I've tried to be more aggressive and be not so picky at the plate."
The Rangers' Nick Tepesch (2-1, 4.43) had gone 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in his first three starts after getting called up from Triple-A Round Rock before making an early exit last Saturday. The 25-year-old right-hander was tagged for five runs and served up two homers in just two innings of a 10-2 loss at Washington.
"You're not going to win games falling behind and letting pitches leak back over the middle," Tepesch said.
Tepesch was also hit hard in his only matchup against the Indians, yielding five runs in as many innings in a 5-2 defeat last June 12. Jason Kipnis and Mike Aviles both took him deep.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus has hit safely in each of his 38 games versus Cleveland, tied for the second-longest hitting streak against one team since at least 1914. He's a career .367 hitter against the Indians, his highest mark against any AL club.
Cleveland's Carlos Santana went 1 for 3 with a walk Friday in his first game since coming off the seven-day concussion list.