Indians rolling into October
Sitting just outside the AL wild-card picture, the Cleveland Indians are hoping to continue taking advantage of their favorable remaining schedule.
The Indians go for a fourth straight win over the major league-worst Houston Astros on Friday night.
Matt Carson delivered an RBI single with two outs in the 11th inning of Thursday's 2-1 win, Cleveland's 10th walkoff victory. The Indians (83-70) are one-half game behind Tampa Bay and Texas, who are tied atop the wild-card standings, and six behind AL Central-leading Detroit.
"We'll take any win any way we can get it," manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland has three more games against Houston (51-102) before hosting the last-place Chicago White Sox for two and concluding the season with four at fourth-place Minnesota.
The Astros have been outscored 32-10 while hitting .130 with runners in scoring position during a six-game losing streak. They went 1 for 8 in such situations Thursday.
"It's one thing to get beat, but it's another thing to beat yourself," said manager Bo Porter, whose team left a season-high 16 runners on base the previous night in a 6-5, 13-inning loss to Cincinnati.
"We just squandered opportunity after opportunity with poor at-bats and bad baserunning. It's extremely frustrating because this is basic baseball. We should have won these last two games."
Brett Wallace is mired in a 4-for-29 slump, and Jonathan Villar is 1 for his last 14.
Houston, which has dropped three straight in the series by a 26-11 margin, will try to bounce back against Zach McAllister (8-9, 3.96 ERA). The right-hander had gone 0-2 with an 8.78 ERA in his previous three starts before allowing one run in 6 2-3 innings in Sunday's 7-1 road win over the White Sox.
"I thought Zach's stuff today was probably as good as we've seen," Francona said. "He had velocity with his fastball and some power to it and he commanded it in and out very well."
McAllister has never faced the Astros, who counter with rookie Brett Oberholtzer (4-3, 2.98).
After allowing one run in 15 innings during his first two starts this month, Oberholtzer gave up four in six innings Saturday in a 6-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.
"It didn't look like he had that pinpoint command, that late life that we had seen in a lot of his previous starts," Porter said. "His breaking ball didn't have the kind of depth that we were accustomed to, which is a credit to him to not have his good stuff and still battle and be able to get through six innings."
The left-hander surrendered home runs to Cleveland's Carlos Santana and Drew Stubbs in two innings of relief in his big league debut April 21.
Oberholtzer also needs to be wary of Nick Swisher, who is 19 for 50 (.380) with five homers and 12 RBIs in his last 13 games.
Michael Bourn had hit safely in eight straight before going 0 for 5 on Thursday. The speedy outfielder, who spent three-plus seasons with Houston from 2008-11, is 2 for 30 against his former team since the start of last year.