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Sun, Aug 4, 2013 - 1:10 PM ET
 

Indians-Marlins Preview

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The Cleveland Indians proved on Saturday they could quickly recover from the end of their lengthy winning streak.

They'll be looking for a similar bounce-back effort from Scott Kazmir.

After a brilliant seven-start stretch, Kazmir tries to put a rocky outing behind him and deliver a series victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

The Indians (61-49) entered Miami averaging 6.3 runs during an eight-game winning streak, including three straight games with double-digit hits.

Both of those streaks ended as Cleveland mustered only three hits in Friday's 10-0 loss, but the Indians' offense got back in gear Saturday. Jason Kipnis broke out of an 0-for-10 slump with three singles, including the go-ahead two-run hit in the seventh, and Cleveland stole six bases in its 4-3 win - its most since 2000.

The Indians had five steals in their previous 15 games, but Saturday's total gave them 84 for the season - tied for the second-most in the majors with Boston and Kansas City.

"The Indians are trying to be aggressive, and that's their game because they can really run," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.

Michael Bourn had three of those steals after going 16 games without one. He had two hits and three runs after coming into Saturday in an 8-for-41 (.195) slump.

"Michael's our spark plug," Kipnis said. "He gets us going and gets us moving in the right direction."

Kazmir (6-4, 4.11 ERA) has generally given the Indians outstanding starts over the past six weeks, going 3-0 with a 1.60 ERA in a seven-start stretch from June 21-July 24. But he wasn't nearly as sharp Tuesday, surrendering a season-high nine hits and four runs over five innings in Cleveland's 7-4 victory over Chicago.

"I don't think he felt real good about his stuff tonight," manager Terry Francona told the Indians' official website. "It was just one of those nights where he came out and he was having a little bit of trouble getting loose. But he kind of, to his credit, he hung in there."

Kazmir is 5-0 at home and 1-4 on the road, but he's pitched better outside of Progressive Field. He has a 4.25 ERA in Cleveland and a 3.99 ERA in 10 road starts.

Regardless of where he's pitched, Kazmir has received plenty of offensive help. The left-hander is getting 7.37 runs of support per nine innings, second in the majors among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings behind Detroit's Max Scherzer.

Kazmir hasn't faced the Marlins (43-66) since 2009, when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Miami, which on Saturday failed for the sixth time to win a season-high fourth straight, has posted a 2.87 ERA since June 16 - the third-best mark in baseball. The starters have led the way lately, allowing three runs or fewer in 13 of their last 14.

Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 3.47) will look to maintain the Marlins' success on the mound. He posted a quality start for the seventh time in eight 2013 outings Tuesday, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings of a 4-2 loss to the Mets.

Eovaldi's only real issue has been his control. He has walked 4.24 batters per nine innings, including a season-high five free passes against New York.

"It was rough tonight," Eovaldi said. "I have to work ahead. My fastball command wasn't there. I was off the plate, just a rough one."

The Indians had lost seven of nine on the road prior to Saturday's game, including five one-run defeats.

Tagged: Indians, Marlins, Scott Kazmir

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