Sabathia Seeks 14th Win 

 

C.C. Sabathia appeared to be back on track his last time out. The only thing missing was a win.

The Cleveland Indians ace makes his second attempt at earning his 14th victory of the season Sunday in the finale of a three-game series with the AL Central rival Minnesota Twins.

Sabathia (13-5, 3.70 ERA) is tied with four other pitchers - including Indians teammate Fausto Carmona - for the major league lead in victories. The Cubs' Carlos Zambrano will also be aiming for his 14th win Sunday.

Sabathia struggled through his first three starts of July, going 1-2 with an 8.47 ERA while allowing opponents to bat .390 and yielding at least four runs in each outing.

The left-hander pitched better on Tuesday, when he limited the Red Sox to one run and five hits through seven innings, walking none while striking out seven. However, Sabathia got outpitched by Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and took a hard-luck 1-0 loss.

"Dice-K was throwing well," Sabathia said. "I thought it would be a tight game. In a game like that one run can beat you. It turns out we couldn't push a run across."

Sabathia defeated the Twins (52-51) at Jacobs Field on May 16, giving up one run and five hits over eight innings of Cleveland's 7-1 victory. He improved to 8-7 with a 3.59 ERA in 22 career starts versus Minnesota.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Cleveland -189 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Minnesota + 160 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has had a tough time facing Sabathia, going 3-for-22 (.136) with five strikeouts.

Morneau made his third error of the season Saturday night, but also had an RBI single in Minnesota's 3-2 victory. Torii Hunter scored the winning run on a failed fielder's choice in the top of the ninth as the Twins bounced back from Friday night's series-opening 10-4 defeat and snapped their season-high five-game losing streak.

Twins third-base coach Scott Ullger watched the winning rally with an icepack on his face after being hit in the left jaw by a Casey Blake line drive while sitting in the dugout in the eighth inning. Bench coach Steve Liddle replaced him in the coaching box.

"I'm lucky," Ullger said, "but I'll be eating soup tomorrow. We won, so I guess I took one for the team."

Minnesota's Matt Garza (1-2, 1.33) will try to recover after a loss in which he allowed his first three earned runs of the season. The 23-year-old right-hander had given up just one unearned run in two starts and one relief appearance since being called up from the minors on June 29, but yielded four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of last Sunday's 7-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

Garza surrendered three runs and five hits over five innings in his only career start versus the Indians, a 3-2 loss last Aug. 17 in Minnesota.

Although the Indians (60-44) have dropped four of their last six, they trail Detroit by just one-half game for the AL Central lead as the Tigers have lost three in a row and five of six. Cleveland has not led the division since July 5.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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