The Cleveland Indians aim to continue their dominance of their intrastate rival on Wednesday afternoon when they bid for an abbreviated two-game series sweep of the visiting Cincinnati Reds.
Rookie Oscar Mercado sent Cleveland to its 16th win in its last 21 meetings with Cincinnati after his RBI single in the 10th inning capped a 2-1 victory on Tuesday.
"That was pretty incredible. I'm not going to lie. I've never actually felt such high emotions before," said the 24-year-old Mercado, who is riding a six-game hitting streak.
The Indians will try to reach new heights as well, as they vie to win three consecutive series for the first time this season on Wednesday when they complete their eight-game homestand. Cleveland has won five of the first seven contests to move two games over .500.
Francisco Lindor had two hits in the series opener and has reached base in all 18 career games versus Cincinnati. He has spent considerable time getting Mercado up to speed since the latter was recalled from Triple-A Columbus on May 14.
"I'm just passing it on," Lindor said. "I want him to be successful. He's going to be a great player, a superstar and one of the faces of the game."
Carlos Santana belted a solo homer to extend his hitting streak to seven games heading into an encounter with Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (2-3, 4.70 ERA), who will bid to snap a five-game winless skid on Wednesday afternoon.
Santana is 3-for-6 with three doubles and Jason Kipnis is 3-for-9 versus DeSclafani, who owns a 1-1 mark with a 3.79 ERA in his career against the Indians.
DeSclafani allowed just one run on six hits in five innings of a no-decision at St. Louis on Thursday. The 29-year-old kept the ball in the park versus the Cardinals after surrendering nine homers in his previous five outings.
DeSclafani likely would welcome some offensive support, as Cincinnati has scored just 16 runs while losing six of its last eight games.
Rookie Nick Senzel ripped an RBI double in the fifth inning and is 5-for-11 with three doubles over his past three games.
Cleveland right-hander Zach Plesac (1-1, 1.86) will attempt to keep Senzel in check on Wednesday when he makes his fourth career start and first versus the Reds.
Plesac, who is the nephew of former All-Star closer Dan Plesac, has surrendered just four runs on 14 hits in 19 1/3 innings in his three previous trips to the mound. The 24-year-old allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings to secure his first win in a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday.
Derek Dietrich's struggles continued in his return to Cleveland, as he went hitless in four at-bats to drop to 1-for-19 in his last five games.
The 29-year-old told reporters that he relishes a chance to come back next month and participate in the Home Run Derby.
"I mean think about it, I'm a Cleveland kid. I've played the game a long time in the major leagues," Dietrich said. "I'm having the best year I've ever had. I'm hoping for the opportunity to represent the Reds here in my hometown and be a part of the All-Star Game festivities. I think it would be a dream come true."