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HOU@NYY: Oberholtzer fans seven over 5 1/3 innings

Brett Oberholtzer and Trevor Bauer match up in the series finale between the Indians and Astros on Sunday.

Both pitchers will be aiming for a series victory as Houston took game one, 5-1, then Cleveland bounced back with a 3-2 win Saturday as Jose Ramirez provided the heroics with a walk-off single in the ninth inning.

The Indians' win kept them on pace in their playoff push, as they reside five games back for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Oberholtzer finally showed some vulnerability Tuesday as he was unable to complete six innings for the first time in 12 starts. He lasted 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees, allowing four runs on seven hits and added seven strikeouts.

The left-hander sported a nifty 3.10 ERA in his previous 11 starts (72 2/3 innings). During that stretch, he was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on two occasions. However, since a June 28 recall, he's been a mainstay in the Astros' rotation.

This will be Oberholtzer's first matchup with Cleveland since last year, when he allowed zero earned runs in six innings on Sept. 20. Oberholtzer made his MLB debut against Cleveland that year in a relief capacity.

Bauer's up-and-down season continued Tuesday when he could not make it out of the fifth inning of the Indians' 7-5 loss to the Twins.

Five runs crossed under Bauer's watch despite only allowing four hits and two walks. All five runs came in the first inning, upping his ERA to an MLB-worst 5.68 in that frame. Manager Terry Francona discussed Bauer's issue after the game.

"We've certainly seen it with guys," Francona said. "Once they get comfortable, they're better. But I don't think that should happen. That was a bit much. I think he's got to be able to make some adjustments early on. He just fell behind every hitter and paid dearly for it."

Tuesday's outing followed one of his best starts of the season on Aug. 13. Bauer completed eight innings, surrendering just two runs and striking out nine. It was the longest outing of his three-year career.

Sunday marks Bauer's debut against the Astros.

Astros: No plans to lie down
Despite their 55-75 record, Houston plans to stay competitive in the final month of the season, and its recent string of success serves as evidence of that.

The Astros are now 5-3 in their last eight games. During this stretch, they've scored 39 runs, good for nearly five per game.

"We're swinging the bats really well," first baseman Jon Singleton said before Saturday's loss. "We're also taking advantage when the other team makes mistakes. That's what good teams do, they capitalize on their opportunities."

Indians: Perez getting a shot
With Yan Gomes shelved with a concussion, Roberto Perez has stepped into his spot as the team's starting catcher in three of the last four games, including Cleveland's win Saturday.

Perez contributed to the victory by bunting the winning run, Tyler Holt, into scoring position. Holt eventually came around on Ramirez's game-winning hit.

Worth noting
• Sunday will be the finale of Houston's 10-game road trip. They would finish above .500 (6-4) with a win.

• Conversely, the Indians embark on a six-game road trip after their series with the Astros. They're just 27-38 away from Progressive Field this season. Comments