Right-hander Zach McAllister aims for a second straight win and a fifth in seven decisions on Friday night when the Cleveland Indians host the Houston Astros in game two of a four-game series at Progressive Field.
The Indians earned an important 2-1 win in Thursday's opener when Matt Carson's RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Back-to-back base hits by Yan Gomes and Asdrubal Cabrera preceded Michael Brantley's line out against Rhiner Cruz (0-2) in the 11th. Mike Aviles walked to load the bases with one out and Carson, who was a defensive replacement for Jason Giambi in the top of the 10th, deposited a single into right-center field to bring home Gomes for the winning run.
The Indians are one-half game behind the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, who are tied for the AL's two wild-card spots.
McAllister, who'll turn 27 in December, was 4-7 on the season after a 10-3 loss to Detroit on Aug. 8 in which he was tagged for six runs while retiring just seven batters.
He reeled off consecutive defeats of Minnesota, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Minnesota again while surrendering just five runs in 19 2/3 innings in his next three starts, then got win No. 8 with a 7-1 defeat of the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 15.
In that game, his most recent outing, McAllister allowed a run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings while dropping his earned run average from 4.11 to 3.96.
The Indians are 7-3 in his last 10 appearances.
He's opposed by rookie lefty Brett Oberholtzer, who's dropped two straight since beginning his career with four wins in five decisions.
The 24-year-old Delaware native started his big league stint with three straight appearances from the bullpen before downing Baltimore, 11-0, in his initial starting assignment on July 31.
He was 4-1 after a complete game gem against Seattle on Sept. 1 - in which he allowed just two hits and struck out five - but has since dropped two straight starts against Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
He gave up just a run in six innings of the 2-1 defeat against the Athletics, but was nicked for four runs and six hits in six innings while falling, 6-2, to the Angels.
The Indians won two of three from the Astros when the teams played at Houston in April. Houston entered the week with an 11-10 lead in the all-time series.
The Sports Network