'Next time' is now as Anderson faces Tribe in finale

May 5, 2011, 3:22 pm
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May 5, 2011

CLEVELAND (20-9) vs.
A's (16-15)

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians may be tied for the best record in baseball, but they're just average on the road.

They've been far worse than that for over three weeks now.

The Indians attempt to avoid losing for the fifth time in six road contests when they conclude a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

Cleveland (20-9) is tied with Philadelphia for the best record in the majors, but the Indians' rise is mostly due to a 13-game home winning streak.

They haven't carried that success onto the road, where they've split 14 games while losing seven of the last 10.

The struggles away from Cleveland continued Wednesday with a 3-1 loss to the A's (16-15) after opening this six-game road trip with a 4-1 victory a night prior.

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Playing in Oakland has always been troublesome for the Indians, who have lost 25 of their last 34 games there.

Jeanmar Gomez (0-1, 6.23 ERA) takes the mound for Cleveland, looking to prove he's worthy of a spot in the rotation with Carlos Carrasco nearing a return from an elbow injury.

Gomez, though, is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in two starts this season, and the right-hander labored through his most recent outing as the Indians beat Detroit 9-5 on Friday. He was lifted with two outs in the sixth after allowing three runs and 10 hits, including a first-inning homer.

"He's battled for us and given us an opportunity," manager Manny Acta told the team's official website. "He competed well for us last year. He's only had two outings here, so we're going to have to see more. If everything works out, (Carrasco) could be in line to pitch the very next week for us."

Oakland has won five of its last seven with much of the credit going to a pitching staff that has compiled a 2.22 ERA to offset the team's .230 batting average. However, the A's hitters have connected for seven homers over the last five games, including David DeJesus' first two of the season Wednesday.

"We're floating around .500 and the offense hasn't even come out of its shoes," said Trevor Cahill, who improved to 5-0 Wednesday. "I think we have a lot to look forward to.

"And once they get going, we can make our run."

In the meantime, the A's could use a better effort from Brett Anderson (2-2, 2.95), who is trying to rebound from his worst performance of the season.

The left-hander was tagged for seven runs and nine hits, including a career high-tying three homers, while walking four and hitting another batter in an 11-2 loss to Texas on Saturday. He was 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA through his first five starts.

"The only thing I can take solace in is that it's going to be better next time," Anderson told the team's official website.

He's dominated the Indians, going 1-0 while yielding one run and seven hits with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings over two home starts.