Jhonny Peralta and the Cleveland Indians helped cause the end of Joe Torre's tenure with the New York Yankees. Although Torre has switched leagues, they're still causing him problems.
Peralta and the Indians look to sweep an interleague road series for the first time in three years Sunday when they finish their three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Los Angeles -153 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -153 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
This is the first time Torre is facing the Indians (35-40) since they eliminated his Yankees in four games in last year's playoffs, with Peralta going 7-for-15 in that series - the last of Torre's 12-year stint with New York. The Cleveland shortstop has added to his woes in this series with two straight go-ahead hits in extra-inning wins.
The Indians blew a four-run lead before Peralta hit a two-run double in the 10th for a 6-4 victory on Friday. Peralta again snapped a tie with a single that scored Jamey Carroll and triggered a six-run 11th inning in a 7-2 win on Saturday.
"Jamey did a great job starting the inning off (with a single), and Jhonny came through with a big hit," third baseman Casey Blake told the Indians' official Web site. "We showed a lot of heart the last two days."
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Peralta is 5-for-10 in this series with four RBIs, and hitting .318 (14-for-44) in interleague play.
Since the Indians swept three games at San Francisco from June 10-12, 2005, they had lost 16 of 24 interleague road games before this series.
Los Angeles (34-40) dropped to 1-7 in interleague play with its sixth straight loss against an AL club. The Dodgers, however, are still in second place in the mediocre NL West and only 4 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona.
Catcher Russell Martin is 5-for-8 in this series after getting three hits Saturday. He's batting .353 (18-for-51) with 10 RBIs in his last 13 games.
Cleveland starter Paul Byrd (3-7, 5.21 ERA) hopes to provide some innings after failing to record an out past the fourth in losing his last two starts. Byrd went four-plus innings and gave up five runs Tuesday in a 10-2 loss at Colorado.
The veteran right-hander fell to 1-6 in eight road starts with a 7.19 ERA - the second-worst mark in the AL.
Byrd has never beaten the Dodgers, going 0-4 with a 3.82 ERA in five starts and also posting a 10.38 ERA in six relief appearances against them.
The Dodgers will start Chad Billingsley (5-7, 3.54), an Ohio native who grew up in Defiance, about 140 miles from Cleveland. The right-hander has never faced the Indians, and is 0-2 with a 5.31 ERA in four career interleague starts.
He yielded one run over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-1 win at Cincinnati on Tuesday, his first win since May 20 that also ended Los Angeles' five-game losing streak.
"Before I came on here, I heard a lot of good things about Billingsley," Torre said. "You can see leadership, take-charge qualities about him."
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