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Indians carry momentum into second matchup with Mets

The Cleveland Indians will try to stay in the hunt for a postseason berth when they resume a three-game series versus the New York Mets Saturday night from Progressive Field.

The Indians and Baltimore Orioles are two games behind for the final wild card berth in the American League, while the New York Yankees are 2 1/2 games out.

Cleveland posted its third straight win and fourth in five tries with Friday's 8-1 victory over the Mets, as Nick Swisher clubbed a grand slam. Carlos Santana knocked in a pair of runs and starting pitcher Scott Kazmir struck out 12 over six scoreless innings for the win.

"We're playing for a playoff spot right now and that's the one thing I'm thinking about when I'm going out to the mound," said Kazmir. "It was great that it was against the team that drafted me but that definitely wasn't crossing my mind when I was out there on the mound."

The Tribe is 3-1 on a nine-game homestand and will send Corey Kluber to the mound Saturday. Kluber has been on the disabled list with a sprained finger on his right pitching hand and last toed the rubber in a 4-2 loss to Detroit on Aug. 5. He hurled 7 1/3 shutout innings for a no-decision.

Kluber, who will be on a pitch count Saturday, is 7-5 with a 3.54 earned run average in 21 games (19 starts) this season and has never faced the Mets.

New York fell to 3-4 on a nine-game road trip and is 1-4 in September.

In Friday's lopsided loss to the Indians, Justin Turner provided the offense with a solo homer and starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was dealt the loss for allowing three runs -- two earned -- in five innings.

"He had to fight through a lot of innings," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Wheeler. "That's why I took him out. He had to work very, very hard the whole game to keep us in the game, and he did that."

Collins hopes Jon Niese can have better luck when he takes the mound Saturday. Niese is 3-0 in his last six appearances and did not receive a decision in Sunday's 6-5 loss at Washington, where he yielded two runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.

Niese, a left-hander, is 6-6 in 19 starts to go along with a 3.66 ERA. He is 4-2 in eight road starts this season and defeated the Indians in his only start against them back on June 16, 2010.

New York swept that three-game series in 2010 in Cleveland.