The Cleveland Indians can retake a division lead tonight when they host the Cincinnati Reds in the middle portion of a three-game interleague series at Progressive Field.
The Indians won Monday's topsy-turvy opener, 10-9, and moved within a half- game of the lead in the American League Central Division, where they trail the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox entered Monday's game with a 1 1/2-game advantage, but dropped the opener of their crosstown series with the Chicago Cubs, 12-3.
Lonnie Chisenhall went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI to help the Indians on Monday, while Casey Kotchman also homered and knocked in three runs and Shin-Soo Choo added a solo shot and an RBI double.
Cleveland had lost five of six coming in, including three straight in Cincinnati last week.
The Reds followed that Battle of Ohio series by taking three in a row against the Mets in New York, but watched starter Mat Latos surrender seven runs in just four innings on Monday.
His counterpart, Derek Lowe, also gave up seven runs over five frames. Joe Smith (5-1) earned the win with 1 2/3 innings of relief, and Chris Perez converted his 22nd consecutive save despite giving up a run in the ninth.
"Our offense picked us up tonight," Perez said. "They swung the bats really well."
Joey Votto and Jay Bruce both went deep for the Reds, while Scott Rolen, fresh off the disabled list, went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
Cleveland leads the all-time series between the teams, 40-39.
Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin gets the start in game two, with a chance to continue a string of alternating wins and losses.
The Texas-born 27-year-old lost his first decision of the season to the White Sox on April 9 and has since followed with a win (at Seattle), a loss (to Kansas City), a win (against Kansas City), a loss (to Minnesota), a win (at St. Louis) and a loss (at Cincinnati).
The meeting with the Reds on June 14 was the second of his career and saw him allow six runs on 10 hits in four innings of a 12-5 loss.
In 56 2/3 overall innings, he has given up 68 hits and 36 runs while walking 13 batters, striking out 36 and allowing a .296 opposition batting average.
Right-hander Mike Leake will start for the Reds tonight and face the Indians for the second straight outing.
He pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and three runs in the June 14 slugfest, but failed in a second straight attempt to pick up win No. 3 on the season.
Leake opened 2012 with five consecutive losses, but has bounced back with wins over Atlanta and Houston in six starts since his last defeat.
He's allowed 11 hits and seven runs in 10 1/3 career innings against Cleveland.
The Sports Network