Tribe looks to take series, may have Hafner back

Ervin Santana’s worst winning percentage against an AL team is versus the Cleveland Indians.

He’ll try to improve on a 1-7 mark against the Indians, who could have Travis Hafner available Wednesday in the finale of a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field.

Cleveland (41-39) has given Santana (4-8, 5.12 ERA) problems over the years. He has a 4.13 ERA in 12 starts against the Indians, although he is 1-1 with a 2.39 ERA over five outings over the last three seasons against them.

Santana allowed five runs over five-plus innings and did not get a decision Friday in a 7-5 defeat at Toronto to fall to 2-3 with a 6.13 ERA in eight road starts this year for one of baseball’s worst ERAs away from home. One of his better efforts on the road, however, came in Cleveland on April 29 when he yielded two runs over seven innings in a 4-0 defeat as he was outpitched by Derek Lowe.

Although Santana has struggled to defeat the Indians, many of their hitters have fared poorly against him. Jose Lopez is 12 for 54, Hafner 4 for 29 with 11 strikeouts, Johnny Damon 5 for 26, Asdrubal Cabrera 3 for 23, Jack Hannahan 3 for 16 and Casey Kotchman 3 for 15.

Hafner’s history against Santana may make this a bad time for him to see his first action since May 23. He was out due to right knee inflammation, and manager Manny Acta said Hafner could be activated for this game.

The slugger went 1 for 10 in three games with Triple-A Columbus in a rehab stint.

“It’s just a matter of trying to get your timing,” Hafner told the Indians’ official website. “(The knee) is doing good. Overall, it’s good. There’s a little bit of soreness off and on maybe running, but that’s pretty normal.”

Lowe (7-6, 4.42) will once again be Santana’s mound opponent after giving up three hits over 7 2-3 innings in the earlier meeting. He’s 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five home starts against AL foes.

The right-hander, however, owns a major league-worst .310 opponent batting average. He’s 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in his last five outings, leaving without a decision Friday after allowing seven runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 9-8 defeat at Baltimore.

Albert Pujols went 0 for 3 against Lowe in April, but he’s 10 for 31 with a homer against him in his career. This is also a good matchup for Maicer Izturis, who is 8 for 17.

Pujols homered for the first time in five games against Cleveland in Tuesday’s 9-5 defeat. Los Angeles (45-36) got good news when All-Star center fielder Mike Trout homered and had three RBIs in his return after the rookie missed Monday’s 3-0 victory with a jammed right pinky.

Lopez continued his surge with three hits Tuesday. He’s 10 for 17 in his last four starts – all victories for Cleveland.

The Indians are 3-2 in the season series, with their bullpen yielding two hits over 9 1-3 scoreless innings.