Indians turn to Kazmir with postseason on the line

10:11 AM, Sep 28, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - Scott Kazmir made just one Major League start over the previous two seasons, but on Saturday afternoon the left-hander has a chance to send the Cleveland Indians to the playoffs.

The Tribe look to post their longest winning streak in five years as they continue a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins.

Cleveland has won eight in a row to match a season high and moved into a tie with Tampa Bay for the American League's first wild card after last night's 12-6 win over the Twins and the Rays' setback to Toronto.

Both clubs are a game ahead of Texas in the standings and either would clinch a playoff spot today with a victory and a Rangers' setback to the Los Angeles Angels.

The Indians are looking to post their longest winning streak since winning 10 in a row from Aug. 17-27, 2008 and turn to Kazmir, who is 9-9 with a 4.14 earned run average in 28 starts this season.

Kazmir has split four starts this month. He began September with six scoreless innings and 12 strikeouts to beat the New York Mets on Sept. 6, then dropped back-to-back outings versus Kansas City.

The 29-year-old returned to beat Houston on Saturday, scattering four hits over seven-plus scoreless innings while striking out 10.

Kazmir is 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts versus the Twins.

The Tribe jumped on the Twins early in last night's win, plating seven runs over the first two innings. Jason Kipnis had three hits and drove in two runs, while Drew Stubbs hit a two-run homer and scored three times.

Corey Kluber gave up six runs along with 10 hits and a walk over 5 1/3 innings to get the win for the Tribe, who are 19-6 in September.

"I just want to keep playing. I don't want to go home. I don't care where we play, when we play, I just want to keep playing," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I should just sit here and stay in my uniform because I'm probably not going to sleep a heck of a lot."

Pedro Florimon hit a two-run home run and drove in three for the Twins, who have dropped four straight and eight of nine.

Pedro Hernandez gave up six runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings to take the loss.

"He just had a bad night," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They were all over him right from the get-go. Kind of non-stop."

Cole De Vries takes the mound today for the Twins for his second start of the season. He is 0-1 with an 11.70 ERA in three appearances this year overall after going 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 17 games last year, all but one of those starts.

De Vries yielded seven runs over his two relief outings before taking a loss in a start at Oakland on Sunday. The 28-year-old righty was charged with six runs on four hits and three walks over just two innings.

De Vries faced the Indians once last year and hurled six scoreless innings of three-hit ball to get the win.

Cleveland is 11-6 versus the Twins this season.

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