CLEVELAND — Fresh off one of their most rousing victories of the season, the Cleveland Indians will host the Houston Astros Monday night in the first game of a four-game series that will conclude the Indians' 10-game homestand.
The Indians have won the first six games of the homestand, sweeping three-game series from Minnesota and Miami. The finale of the Miami series on Sunday featured an electrifying finish.
After giving up two runs in the top of the ninth inning to fall behind 5-3, the Indians rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 6-5. The winning run scored on a two-out RBI single by Lonnie Chisenhall.
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It's Cleveland's ninth walk-off victory of the season, the second most in the major leagues. “We just keep playing,” said manager Terry Francona.
“It seems like it's a different guy every night,” Chisenhall said. “Everybody contributes. We never give up.”
The Indians are now 23 games above .500 (79-56), their high water mark of the season, and their highest mark since finishing the 2007 season with a record of 96-66.
The Indians are also piling up the wins at home. They have won seven in a row at Progressive Field. They have won 15 of their last 18 home games. Since June 2, they are 33-11 at home, the best home record in the majors. Overall, they are 45-23 at Progressive Field, the second-best home record in the American League.
The Astros are trying to stay in the hunt for the second AL wild-card spot. Since Aug. 19, they are 11-4, and that includes having lost two of three to Texas over the weekend. The Astros did salvage the third game of that series by winning 7-6 on Sunday.
“It's a good feeling, obviously, to salvage a game,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “You can't control the first two games after they're over, so all we could do was try to win today.”
The Astros are in the middle of a seven-game trip. They lost two of three in Texas, and will now play four games in Cleveland. Houston is 72-64 and in second place in the AL West, 9 1/2 games behind the division-leading Rangers. The Astros are two games out of the second wild-card spot.
“Anything is possible,” said Chris Devenski, the winning pitcher in the victory over Texas Sunday. “Down the stretch, it's September baseball. My first September, and I'm looking forward to it. We've got a shot.”
Monday's pitching matchup will be Cleveland's Mike Clevinger (2-1, 5.30) vs. Houston's Mike Fiers (9-6, 4.31). Clevinger is taking the place of struggling Josh Tomlin, whose turn in the rotation is being skipped. Manager Terry Francona said Clevinger will start the game, but that it could be a bullpen game, with several relievers taking part.
Clevinger spent most of this season at Triple-A Columbus, where he was 11-1 with a 3.00 ERA. In a couple of stints with the Indians, he has appeared in 11 games. In five games as a starter, he is 1-1 with a 6.29 ERA. In six relief appearances, he is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. Clevinger has never faced the Astros.
Fiers has been much better at home than on the road. He is 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA at home and 3-3 with a 5.57 ERA on the road. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in one start against Cleveland this year.