After struggling with the Oakland Athletics last season, the Cleveland Indians have fared well against them in 2013.
While the surging Indians try for a third straight victory over the A's, Justin Masterson hopes to avoid a third consecutive rough outing and end his recent struggles against the visitors Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
Cleveland (16-14) dropped eight straight to Oakland before winning the first two of this four-game set. Zach McAllister and two relievers held the A's (18-16) to six hits and Yan Gomes delivered a sacrifice fly as it won for the eighth time in nine games, 1-0 on Tuesday.
"When you pitch you have a chance to win the game," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "We didn't do a whole lot offensively."
The Indians have allowed an average 2.3 runs and recorded three shutouts during those nine contests.
Masterson (4-2, 3.64 ERA) allowed one run over 22 innings to win his first three starts, but is 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA in the last four. He's yielded 12 runs in 13 innings of the last two, including five and eight hits over 6 2-3 frames while not factoring in the decision of a 7-6 win over Minnesota on Friday.
The right-hander is 1-5 with a 10.36 ERA as a starter against the A's. He allowed 19 runs, 23 hits - six homers - and walked nine in 14 2-3 innings in losing all three starts versus Oakland in 2012.
Though the A's took two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, they've totaled 16 runs while losing four of six since scoring 29 during a three-game winning streak. John Jaso had two hits Tuesday for Oakland, which did not have a runner reach second base.
Yoenis Cespedes was thrown out trying to steal second with one out in the ninth. Brandon Moss struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
"You've got to try it," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Cespedes had to take that chance. If I didn't want him to go, I'd have put a red light on him."
Shortstop Jed Lowrie went hitless in three at-bats, and is 5 for 33 in eight games to see his average drop from .360 to .303.
He's 0 for 5 versus Masterson.
Oakland hopes for another strong effort from scheduled starter A.J. Griffin (3-2, 3.79), who allowed six hits and walked one in seven innings of a 2-0 win at Yankee Stadium on Friday.
"You expect him to have a good start all the time based on what we've seen since we called him up last year," Melvin said about the free-spirit Griffin, who serenaded his teammates in the clubhouse in English, Spanish and French while playing the guitar prior to that contest.
This will be the right-hander's first appearance against the Indians.
The A's are without outfielder Josh Reddick, who received a cortisone shot before the game on his sore right wrist after an MRI revealed inflammation in the joint. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.
"The last few days have been pretty rough and I've been having a lot of trouble," said Reddick, who is batting .129 (4 for 31) in his last 12 games. "I don't want to be a guy rotting on the bench, taking up a roster spot and not helping this team. We'll sit out here, maybe (the next series in) Seattle, or even take a trip to the disabled list."
Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis had two hits Tuesday, and is batting .314 (11 for 35) in his last eight games.