The Cleveland Indians hope to continue their offensive surge and put an exclamation point on a terrific road trip when they visit the Texas Rangers for the finale of their four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Jason Kipnis belted a pair of homers and recorded four RBIs in Wednesday's 10-4 triumph as the Indians improved to 5-1 on a seven-game trek during which they have scored a total of 47 runs and 20 in the last two contests.
Cleveland rookie Oscar Mercado has gone 12-for-28 with seven runs scored over his last six games while Carlos Santana has reached base in 32 of his last 33 contests after notching a pair of hits in Wednesday's win. Shane Bieber looks to finish the trip with another strong performance on the mound while Mike Minor gets the start for the Rangers, who have lost five of their last eight games to fall out of the second wild-card spot in the American League. Texas finished with 10 hits on Wednesday but went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Danny Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera (2-for-4, two RBIs) belted solo homers while the former has gone 8-for-17 with a pair of blasts in his last five contests for the Rangers, who are 4-12 against Cleveland since the start of the 2017 season.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Shane Bieber (6-2, 3.92 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Mike Minor (6-4, 2.63)
Bieber is unbeaten in his last six starts, including last time out in Detroit as he gave up two runs with 12 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old Californian is 4-0 with a 4.08 ERA during his unbeaten streak and has registered 108 strikeouts in 85 frames this season. Bieber, who will be facing the Rangers for the first time in his young career, is 4-1 with a 4.05 ERA in seven games (six starts) on the road in 2019.
Minor recorded the victory at Cincinnati on Saturday after permitting three runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings - the 10th straight time he has allowed three runs or fewer. The 31-year-old Vanderbilt product has produced four quality starts in his last six outings, recording 99 strikeouts in 95 2/3 frames. Leonys Martin is 2-for-3 against Minor, who is 1-0 while working 8 1/3 scoreless innings in six career relief appearances versus Cleveland.
1. Rangers RF Shin-Soo Choo has reached base in 32 consecutive home games after going 2-for-4 on Wednesday.
2. Kipnis has recorded 10 of his 25 RBIs in his last four games, going 7-for-15 with three homers in that span.
3. Texas OF Willie Calhoun has reached base in all nine of his major-league games this season, going 12-for-35 with nine RBIs.