|Clevinger returns as Indians hit road to face Rangers|
The Cleveland Indians' ailing pitching staff will see the return of one of its starters as right-hander Mike Clevinger will take the mound for Monday's opener of a four-game series against the host Texas Rangers.
Clevinger (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is set to make his return from the 60-day injured list after being sidelined since early April with a significant upper back injury.
The 28-year-old was dominant prior to sustaining the injury on April 7, allowing just two hits to go along with 22 strikeouts over 12 scoreless innings.
Clevinger, who owns an 0-1 mark with a 2.42 ERA in five career encounters with Texas, enters the series opener with the surging Indians having won eight of their last 11 games.
Rookie outfielder Oscar Mercado had three hits and drove in four runs in Cleveland's 8-0 romp over Detroit on Sunday. The 24-year-old is 15-for-40 with two homers, eight RBIs and eight runs scored in his last 10 games.
"I know it went kind of quietly last year when we acquired him, but I think our (front office) guys deserve a lot of credit, because the kid looks like he's got a chance to be a pretty good player," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Mercado. "It's fun watching him."
Jason Kipnis belted his third homer of the season and first since May 16 in Sunday's blowout.
"I think you're just seeing the hitter that I used to be and can be," the 32-year-old Kipnis said. "It's still in there. So I'm excited to see where we go from here."
Kipnis is 2-for-5 with a double against Monday starter Lance Lynn (7-4, 4.40), who sports a 4-0 mark at home this season.
Lynn received his second straight no-decision on Wednesday at Boston despite recording his seventh straight quality start. He allowed three runs on six hits with eight strikeouts over six innings against the Red Sox.
The 32-year-old Lynn has faced the Indians twice in his career, going 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, although he did walk five batters in a matchup last season.
The Rangers will appreciate a return to Texas for a seven-game homestand. They own a 24-12 mark at Globe Life Park in Arlington, and are 14-21 on the road after dropping an 11-3 decision at Cincinnati on Sunday.
The Rangers' Hunter Pence launched a two-run homer before exiting in the fifth inning with tightness in his right groin.
"It's already feeling a lot better," the 36-year-old Pence said. "I definitely did not feel anything extraordinary (in terms of pain), so that's a good sign. It grabbed on me a bit there, but the fact that I already feel a lot better and I'm moving pretty good (is encouraging). I'm getting an MRI (Monday), so we'll see."
Former Red Shin-Soo Choo homered in the first inning on Sunday to give him hits in three straight games and a run scored in each of his last five.
Texas' Danny Santana has posted back-to-back multi-hit performances after going 0-for-8 in his previous three games.
--Field Level Media