Another test for A's with high-flying Tribe in town

May 3, 2011, 1:31 pm
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May 3, 2011

CLEVELAND (19-8) vs.
A's (15-14)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians' 13-game home winning streak has largely contributed to them holding baseball's best record through the first month of the season. Heading into a West Coast trip, improving their 6-6 road mark becomes the priority.

Cleveland begins a six-game swing through California on Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics, who have won six of eight at home.

The Indians (19-8) completed a 6-0 homestand following a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 win against Detroit on Sunday. Matt LaPorta had two doubles and three RBIs in the victory.

"A super, fantastic homestand. Just terrific," manager Manny Acta said. "Winning breeds confidence and these kids right now are feeling pretty good."

Despite their home success, the Indians have lost six of eight on the road after winning their first four away from Progressive Field. Following this series, they play three against Los Angeles.

Acta said his team must carry over the success from its homestand.

"Expectations don't change," he said. "You try to win every game. We'll try to take some home cooking on the road."

Fausto Carmona (2-3, 5.15 ERA) looks to keep the Indians rolling by building on his most recent start. The right-hander beat Kansas City 8-2 on Thursday, allowing two runs through seven innings.

Carmona's numbers are much more respectable following his opening day performance against Chicago on April 1, when he allowed 10 runs in three innings. He's 2-2 with a 2.94 ERA in four starts since, and has gone at least seven innings in three of them.

However, Carmona hasn't been very impressive against the A's. He's 3-5 with a 5.54 ERA in 10 appearances, going 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA in his last two starts.

Hideki Matsui is one of four Athletics hitting above .300 against Carmona.

Matsui had an RBI groundout in the fifth inning and homered in the bottom of the 10th on Monday to give Oakland (15-14) its fourth win in five games, 5-4 over Texas. Despite his big day, Matsui is hitting .242.

"The adjustments are ongoing on a daily basis," he said. "That's what I have been doing and it's what I will keep doing."

REWIND: A's win on Matsui's walk-off in 10th

Matsui is 7 for 11 (.636) with a home run against Carmona, while former Indian Coco Crisp (.545), Mark Ellis (.313) and David DeJesus (.308) also have hit him well.

Crisp had the day off Monday as a precaution after he returned Sunday from a three-game absence with tightness in his left hamstring.

Starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy committed two errors, giving Oakland an AL-most 27. Grant Balfour pitched around three walks in the top of the 10th to earn the win.

"We've been up and down through April," McCarthy said. "To start May like this is something we needed. The bullpen was outstanding. They stood up and got my back."

Right-hander Tyson Ross (1-2, 2.76) will make his first start against Cleveland after tossing seven scoreless innings in Oakland's 2-1, 10-inning victory against the Angels on Wednesday.

Ross pitched two scoreless innings against Cleveland on April 23, 2010.

The A's went 6-3 against Cleveland last season, winning two of three meetings at home.