After waiting more than two years between big league wins, left-hander Scott Kazmir can pick up his second in a week when the Indians close out a four-game series against Bartolo Colon and the A's on Thursday at Progressive Field.
When Kazmir threw six strong innings at home on Saturday against the Twins, it gave him his first victory since Sept. 19, 2010. In between he dealt with injuries, ineffectiveness, and stints in the Minors and an independent league.
"It feels good to just get that monkey off my back," Kazmir said after holding Minnesota to two runs on five hits and striking out seven. "It's been a while. Today felt great."
Kazmir, now 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA in three starts, will match up against veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon as he tries to lead the Indians to a four-game sweep and their 10th win in 11 games.
The A's have lost four of five, including a controversial 4-3 defeat on Wednesday night, when a potential game-tying homer by Adam Rosales with two outs in the ninth inning was ruled a double despite video replay.
Colon, 39, struggled in his past two starts, giving up eight runs on 15 hits in 11 1/3 innings. On Saturday, against the Yankees, he did not complete six innings for the first time this season and served up a pair of home runs.
"He didn't pitch bad," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He gave up two home runs and a bloop hit. Most days that will keep you in the game and give you a chance to win."
Colon has walked only one and struck out 23 in 37 1/3 innings this season.
This start also will bring Colon back to Cleveland for the first time since 2005. He came to the Majors with the club in 1997 and stayed until he was traded to the Expos during the 2002 season.
A's: Digging into depth
Oakland has been hit hard by injuries of late, with Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp and Chris Young all on the disabled list. But the club still has some solid starting options, with Seth Smith, Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss getting the call on Wednesday. Michael Taylor is another option in the outfield when Moss shifts to first base.
"We never expected to have three of our outfielders on the [disabled list] at the same time, but a guy like Brandon Moss makes it a lot easier," Melvin said. "He can go from first base and go to the outfield rather easily. We still have four good outfielders here right now. It's just a little different dynamic at first base."
• First baseman Daric Barton was brought up from Triple-A Sacramento and was in the lineup on Wednesday, going 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Melvin said that Barton mostly will start against right-handed pitchers, with Nate Freiman going against lefties.
Indians: Gomes making an impression
Backup catcher Yan Gomes, acquired from the Blue Jays this offseason, has been focusing on his work behind the dish after moving around the diamond for Toronto. With Gomes catching, the Cleveland staff has a 2.89 ERA in 84 innings.
"He works hard at it," right-hander Zach McAllister said. "He's played a lot of positions in the Minor Leagues, but he takes a lot of pride in what he does back there. He wants to be successful."
• Catcher Carlos Santana has reached base via a hit or a walk in 23 of 27 games this season. He went 1-for-2 with a walk and a home run on Wednesday.
• Colon is 37-22 with a 3.94 ERA in 85 career games at Progressive Field. He has a 3.28 ERA in 10 starts against the Indians, including an eight-inning, one-run outing last year.
• The Indians improved to 7-3 in one-run games on Wednesday.
• After Thursday's game, the Indians and A's won't meet again until Aug. 16, in Oakland.
• Only three A's players have faced Kazmir. Jed Lowrie leads the way, with 11 plate appearances, going 0-for-6 with five walks.
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.