Indians continue playoff fight as Salazar gets start in series finale

Danny Salazar will try to get back on track as the Indians continue to try to keep their postseason hopes alive.

David Richard/David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of strong pitching performances have helped the Cleveland Indians bounce back from a rough start to their final road trip of the regular season.

Danny Salazar now looks to avoid a third straight rough outing while helping the Indians end Scott Feldman’s run of home success for the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

Cleveland (78-73) snapped a four-game skid Tuesday when Corey Kluber pitched seven strong innings during a 4-2 victory over Houston. One night later, Carlos Carrasco allowed two infield hits to Jose Altuve and struck out a career-high 12 in a 2-0 victory.

"It felt great," Carrasco said.

Five games back of the AL’s second wild-card spot, the Indians continue to fight and will hand the ball to Salazar (6-7, 4.22).

The right-hander allowed an earned run, three hits and struck out seven in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 3-2 win over Houston on Aug. 23. He followed that effort with 14 scoreless innings over his next two outings, highlighted by striking out nine during an eight-hitter in a 7-0 victory over Detroit on Sept. 3.

Since then, however, Salazar has allowed nine runs in 10 1-3 innings while going 0-1 in two starts. He gave up three of those runs over 5 2-3 while not factoring in the decision of a 5-4 defeat to the Tigers on Saturday.

Teammate Yan Gomes went 2 for 4 Wednesday and has two RBIs for a second straight game. He is batting .397 with 11 RBIs in his last 17 road contests.

INDIANS ON SPORTSTIME OHIO

Hoping to take this four-game series and improve to 3-4 on the 10-game trip, the Indians could face a stiff test versus Feldman (8-11, 3.95 ERA).

Since giving up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-3 home loss to Boston on July 11, Feldman has yielded eight over 38 1-3 innings to go 3-1 in his next five outings at Minute Maid Park. In his most recent outing there Aug. 30, the right-hander tossed a three-hitter during a 2-0 win over Texas.

Feldman has since posted a 2.51 ERA while going 0-1 in two starts. He allowed two solo homers to Mike Trout over six innings in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"I probably didn’t feel as good as I did the past few games, but you’re not always going to feel great out there," Feldman, who is 2-2 with a 2.19 ERA in his last five overall, told MLB’s official website.

He’s 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA as a starter against the Indians, but has not faced them since 2012 while with the Rangers.

Altuve recorded one of his major league-high 213 hits in three at-bats versus Salazar this season. That total ties him with Boston’s Dustin Pedroia from 2008 for the most hits by a second baseman since 1974.

Altuve is 15 for 30 in the last seven games overall and 11 for 19 in his last five against the Indians at Minute Maid Park.