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Tribe aims for another offensive outburst in finale with Astros

7:55 AM, Apr 21, 2013   |    comments
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After losing a one-run decision in Friday's opener, the Cleveland Indians saw their offense break out in a big way the following night.

Given how Ubaldo Jimenez and Erik Bedard both pitched last time, the offense could come fast and furious again on Sunday afternoon when the Indians and Houston Astros complete a three-game series.

The Astros snapped a five-game slide by winning Friday's opener 3-2, but were helpless in stopping the Indians' attack in the second game. Cleveland scored eight runs in the first inning, six in the second and ended up with 22 hits in all by the end of a 19-6 triumph.

Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs, while Mark Reynolds added his own three-run shot as the Tribe snapped a five-game losing streak. Nick Swisher went 4-for-7 with three doubles and a pair of RBI.

Scott Kazmir, who had not pitched in the major leagues since April 3, 2011, got the start for the Indians and despite the overwhelming run support was unable to pick up the win. He lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks.

"Up 10 runs, I guess it's just one of those things when it's my first time out there, (they) just got the best of me," Kazmir said. "I just wasn't able to pitch my game. I'm the type of guy that likes to pitch off my fastball."

Other than Kazmir failing to get the victory, the only other negative to come out of Saturday's win was shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera coming out of the game following the top of the first inning with a bruised left wrist. He started despite hurting himself after slipping on the steps from the clubhouse to the dugout before the game.

X-rays were negative, but Cabrera is unlikely to play today.

Cabrera batted twice in the first inning and had one of the eight hits Houston starter Philip Humber allowed. Humber had opened the game by recording a fly out, but allowed the next nine batters to reach base and yielded eight runs before getting the hook.

"It has been hard on the bullpen. We haven't exactly held up our end of the bargain this past few weeks or so. We have to do a better job," Humber said.

Ronny Cedeno drove in three runs while Brandon Barnes had a two-run homer and Brandon Laird hit a solo shot for the Astros.

Following Humber's quick exit, the Astros will need some innings today from Bedard, something he also failed to give last time out. He makes his third start and fourth appearance of the season and was drilled for six runs on two hits and four walks while recording just one out in a loss at the Oakland Athletics on Monday.

The lefty hadn't allowed a run over his first 7 1/3 innings this season, scattering two hits and picking up a save.

However, Bedard walked the first three Oakland batters he faced and, following a strikeout, unleashed a wild pitch that scored a run. The 34-year-old then yielded a two-run single and three-run homer to end his outing.

"I was trying to throw strikes. It just didn't happen," Bedard said on Houston's official website. "It's happened before and it will probably happen again."

Bedard will make his 12th career start versus the Indians and is 2-2 against them with a 4.53 earned run average.

Jimenez will try to avoid a third straight disastrous start when he takes the hill for the Indians. After pitching well in his season debut, the right- hander has given up seven runs in each of his last two starts and recorded just five outs versus the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. Before departing, Jimenez allowed two hits and five walks.

"Everything felt good coming out of my hand (early on), but then it just failed me fast," said Jimenez, who is 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in three starts this season.

The 29-year-old stands a good chance at rebounding today as he is a perfect 4-0 in six lifetime meetings with the Astros to go along with a 1.88 ERA and 32 walks in 38 1/3 innings.

The Astros won two of three matchups with Cleveland last season. It was the first series between the teams since Houston won two of three back in 2001.

 

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