With the Cleveland Indians finally ending their lengthy skid in Cincinnati and having won the Ohio Cup, Carlos Carrasco will have just a little less pressure as he resumes his push for the AL wins lead.
Carrasco will seek an 11th victory in Sunday's series finale against the Reds, and Johnny Cueto will try to thwart that attempt with another successful performance versus Cleveland.
Cleveland (43-47) ended a nine-game losing streak in Cincinnati with its highest-scoring game since May 27, a 9-4 victory Saturday. Michael Brantley, Brandon Moss and Yan Gomes combined to drive in eight runs on homers.
The Indians, batting .206 in their prior 10 games, had 11 hits for the first time since getting 13 in a 7-1 win in Tampa Bay on June 29 and improved to 4-1 against Cincinnati this season. Moss snapped an 0-for-21 slump while helping give Cleveland its second series victory against its instate rivals in the past 10 years.
"It feels good just to be on base," Moss said. "I've been in a really bad stretch. You hit the panic button, try to force things. ... You get caught in a funk and once that starts, it's hard to get out of it."
The Indians went a franchise-best 5-1 against the Reds in 2011 and Carrasco (10-7, 4.07 ERA) will try to help his team tie that mark and earn his first win in three outings.
The right-hander gave up two runs in seven innings against Oakland in his final start before the All-Star break July 11 but did not get a decision in a 5-4 loss.
Carrasco could tie for the AL wins lead if he is victorious Sunday, and the league's co-leaders - Houston's Dallas Keuchel and Seattle's Felix Hernandez - fail to earn victories. Keuchel is facing Texas and Hernandez is pitching against the New York Yankees.
Carrasco seeks his third win in as many starts against Cincinnati (40-48) and second this season. He yielded two runs in six innings and struck out seven in a 7-3 victory May 22 in Cleveland.
Cueto (6-6, 2.73) faces the Indians for the first time this season and will try to improve to 5-0 in seven career matchups. The right-hander, who has a 2.08 ERA against Cleveland, has gone the distance in each of the last two meetings with the most recent Aug. 5.
Cueto had a more frustrating time in an 8-1 loss in Miami last Sunday, tossing a cooler in the Reds' dugout after giving up five runs in five innings
This might prove one of Cueto's final starts for the Reds as he's rumored to be heading out of town before the trade deadline at the end of this month.
"I'm going to leave that in God's hands," Cueto told MLB's official website. "I'm still wearing my Cincinnati jersey. That's what I'm going to be thinking about is that I'm wearing that Cincinnati jersey. We'll see what happens after the All-Star Game. We'll wait to see what happens."
Jay Bruce, batting .423 (11 for 26) in his last seven games, is 3 for 6 with two homers against Carrasco. Michael Bourn, who snapped an 0-for-15 slump Saturday, is 9 for 24 (.375) versus Cueto.