MLB

Indians-Rangers Preview

The majors' top hitter in May, Jason Kipnis continues to help the Cleveland Indians have their way with the Texas Rangers.

While the second baseman looks to stay hot, the visiting Indians try to complete a series sweep with their ninth consecutive victory over the Rangers on Sunday.

One night after recording four hits in an 8-3 series-opening victory, Kipnis added three more, highlighted by a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning of Saturday's 10-8 win. It's the first time since taking their season-opening set at Houston that the Indians (14-21) have won two in a row or won a series.

"We'll take wins anywhere we can get them," manager Terry Francona told MLB's official website.

A winner in 13 of the last 14 versus Texas (15-22), Cleveland is averaging 8.0 runs and batting .324 during an eight-game winning streak that's its longest against the Rangers franchise.

Kipnis, meanwhile, is batting .517 (31 for 60) with an on-base percentage of .586 and has three homers with nine RBIs in 14 games this month. He's 20 for 35 while hitting safely in eight straight contests, and is batting .435 during a 10-game hitting streak at Texas.

''Everything's just going right for me,'' said Kipnis, who is batting .425 since moving to the leadoff spot April 26. ''I know it's not going to last. I'm not going to keep this up the whole season. Right now I've got my approach where I want it. I'm balanced, and I'm seeing the ball well. So, I'm trying to ride it out as long as I can.''

He went 1 for 2 last season against Nick Martinez (2-0, 1.88 ERA), who yielded eight runs in two innings of a 17-7 home loss to the Indians on June 9.

The right-hander allowed one earned run while recording both wins over four April starts but has a 4.23 ERA in his three this month. He gave up four runs, including his first homer of 2015, over 6 1-3 innings of a 7-6, 10-inning loss to Kansas City on Tuesday - the Rangers' only defeat with him on the mound.

"You gotta find a way to keep fighting and do your best, try to go deep in the game and hopefully have the best chances," he told MLB's official website.

Martinez will be opposed by Carlos Carrasco (4-3, 4.84), who has split his last four starts despite a 6.00 ERA. His attempt to win three straight ended after he struck out seven without a walk but gave up four runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-3 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday.

"I think (Carrasco) pitched better than the line showed," Francona said.

The right-hander allowed one run in one inning each of two relief outings against the Rangers last season but has not faced them as a starter since 2011.

Ex-Indian Shin-soo Choo had three hits, including one of three home runs Saturday for Texas, which has dropped three in a row.

After going 5 for 52 with one home run, five RBIs and 15 strikeouts in 16 games last month, Choo is hitting .362 with five homers and 12 RBIs in as many May contests. However, he's fanned 21 times this month.

He had been 1 for 30 in his previous seven games against Cleveland before Saturday.

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