The Cleveland Indians try to continue their recent resurgence on Friday when they open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field.
Cleveland has followed up its season-worst eight-game winning streak by winning three straight series, including its most recent over the Kansas City Royals that allowed the Tribe to jump them in the standings.
In Wednesday's rubber match, Michael Brantley registered his first career multi-homer game and drove in three runs to help Cleveland to a 6-3 victory. Mike Aviles drove in two runs and Carlos Santana plated another for the Indians, winners in six of their last eight.
Justin Masterson (9-5) earned his first win since May 29 after tossing 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts.
"We got his pitch count up early," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Masterson. "I think we got eight or nine hits off him, we just couldn't do much damage. We got the two runs and that's it."
Hoping to keep the ball rolling for the Tribe on Friday will be lefty Scott Kazmir, who is 3-4 with a 5.89 ERA. Kazmir did not get a decision on Saturday against Washington, but was awful, as he allowed five runs and four hits with four walks in just 2 2/3 innings.
Kazmir beat the Twins earlier in the year and is 3-4 lifetime against them with a 4.09 ERA in seven starts.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with righty Samuel Deduno, who has won three of his four starts this season. Deduno beat the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, limiting them to two runs and seven hits in seven innings to lower his ERA to 3.26.
Deduno is perfect 2-0 in three starts versus the Indians with a 3.50 ERA.
Minnesota comes into this series on the heels of sweeping the Chicago White Sox that concluded with an 8-4 win on Thursday in a game that saw the Twins belt four home runs.
Brian Dozier launched a two-run blast for the Twins, with Oswaldo Arcia, Clete Thomas and Eduardo Escobar adding solo shots.
Arcia and Joe Mauer each had three hits to help Minnesota conclude its homestand with a 6-3 mark. Scott Diamond (5-6) earned the win after allowing four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"It really helps when you get the (defense) behind you and especially the bats," Diamond said.
Cleveland took two of three from the Twins earlier in the season.