Series: Game 2 of 4

Series tied 1-1 (as of 9/16)

Game 1: Monday, September 15
Game 2: Tuesday, September 16
Game 3: Wednesday, September 17
Game 4: Thursday, September 18
in 13

Indians 4

(78-73, 33-43 away)

Astros 2

(67-84, 36-40 home)

    8:10 PM ET, September 16, 2014

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    CLE 100102000 4 7 0
    HOU 100000010 2 9 2

    W: C. Kluber (16-9)

    L: N. Tropeano (1-1)

    S: C. Allen (21)

    Indians-Astros Preview


    The Cleveland Indians' slim playoff hopes are fading fast and they may be out of it entirely by the time they leave Houston if they can't contain Jose Altuve.

    Cleveland will look to avoid a fifth straight loss Tuesday night against the Astros.

    The Indians fell 3-1 in Monday's opener, a fourth straight loss that dropped them six games back of the AL's second wild-card spot. Cleveland (76-73) hasn't lost five straight since a season-worst six-game skid from April 25-30.

    "We're in this thing until they tell me we're out of it," said Michael Brantley, who was 2 for 4 to improve his average to .423 over the last 18 contests. "That's how I look at it. That is how everyone in this locker room looks at it. We need to score more runs, we need to play better baseball. There is no other way to put it."

    Brantley is 8 for 16 during the skid, while the rest of the team has hit .225.

    The Astros (67-83) will be looking to win a sixth straight home game for the first time since April 22-May 5, 2012.

    Altuve was 3 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs Monday, raising his average to .342 and his hit total to 209 -- both of which lead the majors. He's one shy of Craig Biggio's 1998 team record for hits and improved his single-season club mark for multihit games to 63.

    The second baseman has hit .466 during a 14-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park.

    "He's a magician with the wand," interim manager Tom Lawless said. "I've seen it a long time, but seeing it up close and personal, it's amazing what he can do with the bat in his hand."

    Altuve is 0 for 3 in his career against Corey Kluber, who will be tasked with slowing him down Tuesday.

    Kluber (15-9, 2.45 ERA), the first Indians pitcher with 15 wins since Cliff Lee had 22 in 2008, is 5-3 with a 1.49 ERA over his last 10 starts. He's thrown a combined 17 1/3 innings in back-to-back wins since going a season-low 2 2/3 in a Sept. 1 loss to Detroit.

    The right-hander's 212 2/3 innings rank fourth in baseball.

    "He's been so amazingly consistent, and at a high level -- and he's only going to get better," manager Terry Francona said.

    Kluber won both of his starts against Houston last season, giving up two runs in 9 1/3 innings while striking out 10.

    Nick Tropeano (1-0, 3.60) gets the ball for Houston after limiting Seattle to two runs and four hits over five-plus innings of a 5-2 victory Wednesday in his big league debut.

    "It's a little surreal," Tropeano told MLB's official website. "Just my major league debut, kind of all just kind of happening so fast. Just glad I got it out of the way and got my feet wet and helped contribute to a win."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakW1L2
    Last 106-43-7

    Pitching Matchup

    C. Kluber
    18-9, 2.44 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/26 vs TB
    8.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = Win
    N. Tropeano
    1-3, 4.57 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 at NYM
    5.0 IP, 4 ER
    Dec = Loss

    Gameday Lineups

    1. M. Bourn, CF R. Grossman, LF
    2. J. Ramirez, SS J. Altuve, 2B
    3. M. Brantley, LF D. Fowler, CF
    4. C. Santana, 1B C. Carter, DH
    5. J. Kipnis, 2B M. Gonzalez, SS
    6. L. Chisenhall, 3B J. Singleton, 1B
    7. Y. Gomes, C M. Stassi, C
    8. J. Giambi, DH A. Presley, RF
    9. D. Murphy, RF G. Petit, 3B

    Research Notes

    Collin McHugh is throwing breaking ball 54 percent of the time this season, second most among all pitchers who have made at least 20 starts. Carlos Santana has 36 strikeouts and nine hits this year in at-bats ending with a breaking ball from a right-handed pitcher, the highest strikeout-to-hit ratio on such pitches in the league.

    ESPN Stats & Information