Giants, Indians shoot for series win in rubber game (Jul 19, 2017)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Two teams whose mistakes have led to their demise this week nonetheless have an opportunity to record their first interleague-series win of the season when the Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants meet again on Wednesday at AT&T Park.
The finale of a three-game series will break a tie that resulted from Cleveland's 5-3 win on Monday and San Francisco's 2-1, 10-inning victory on Tuesday.
The Giants aided the Indians' cause in the series opener, committing two critical errors as the visitors were scoring three runs in the fifth and sixth innings of a come-from-behind win.
The Indians evened the score, and the series, when right fielder Brandon Guyer dropped a fly ball that produced the only run starting pitcher Mike Clevinger allowed in Cleveland's Tuesday defeat.
It's little wonder neither team has won an interleague series this season.
The Indians will take the field Wednesday as the majors' losingest team in interleague play this season at 4-12. The Giants haven't been much better at 4-8.
"Everybody feels good after wins like that," Giants pitcher Ty Blach said shortly after Eduardo Nunez's walk-off single ended the Tuesday contest. "Especially after we had a tough one (on Monday)."
Two veteran right-handers, San Francisco's Matt Cain (3-8, 5.56 ERA) and Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco (10-4, 3.65), will have a tough time duplicating the efforts of the Tuesday starters, Blach and Mike Clevinger, when they take the hill in the series finale.
Cain began the second half in the bullpen, having been designated as the Giants' odd man out when staff ace Madison Bumgarner returned from the disabled list.
However, one night into his demotion, Cain found himself reinserted into the rotation on a part-time basis, taking the place of Johnny Cueto, who was forced onto the disabled list with blisters on his throwing hand.
Cain was demoted following seven consecutive losing decisions. An eighth straight defeat would match a career worst, which occurred bridging the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
His most recent appearance, on July 9, came in relief against the Miami Marlins, when he pitched one-third of an inning and yielded two walks (one intentional) and no runs.
The 32-year-old has faced the Indians twice in his career, going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
Carrasco, meanwhile, will be seeking to tie Washington's Max Scherzer for most road wins in the majors this season. He is 7-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 11 road outings in 2017.
The 30-year-old has pitched well against the Giants in two lifetime games but has nothing but a solid ERA (3.21) to show for it.
He allowed a total of just five earned runs in 14 innings in 4-3 and 5-1 home losses to the Giants in 2011 and 2014, the last two times the clubs met in interleague play.
Carrasco got the call in the second-half opener for the Indians and took a 5-0 loss at Oakland last Friday. He struck out 10, giving him 21 K's in his past two starts.
Indians manager Terry Francona walked away Tuesday night believing his team already should have clinched the interleague series.
"Sometimes teams go through periods like this," he said after Cleveland's fourth loss in five games since the All-Star break. "We've just got to figure out a way to win 2-1 as opposed to losing 2-1."