(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Indians were able to experience the thrill of victory their last time out and look to split this Ohio series versus the Cincinnati Reds Thursday from Progressive Field.
The Indians were embroiled in a five-game lull until disposing of the Reds, 5-2, Wednesday. After losing the first two portions of this series at Cincinnati, the Indians fired back in front of their own fans to win for just the second time in the past nine tries.
Veteran slugger Jason Giambi homered for a second straight game and his three- run blast in the sixth inning extended Cleveland's lead.
"I love it," Giambi said. "There's no greater feeling in the world than to be able to help contribute and help the ballclub out. It's exciting. That's what brings me back. Sometimes I wish I was still 25 or 26-years-old."
Mark Reynolds belted his 13th home run of the season and Asdrubal Cabrera recorded two hits and a pair of runs scored. The Tribe was able to pull within 1 1/2 games of Detroit for the AL Central lead after the Tigers lost at Pittsburgh.
Indians starter Justin Masterson fanned seven batters and allowed one run and four hits in six innings, improving to 8-3 on the season.
Cleveland, which hosts Tampa Bay for three games this weekend, will hand the ball to Scott Kazmir Thursday and he is 0-1 in his last three starts. Kazmir has recorded back-to-back no-decisions and pitched well in Saturday's 7-4 loss at Boston, giving up two runs in five innings with six strikeouts.
The left-handed Kazmir is 2-0 in three home starts and has never faced Cincinnati in his career.
Cincinnati entered last night's opener at Progressive Field winners of two straight and seven of eight, but Bronson Arroyo was victimized by Giambi's home run and finished with five runs and eight hits allowed in 5 2/3 innings to sustain the loss. Arroyo allowed only two runs in the first five innings.
"It was one of those days I knew I didn't have a whole lot of weapons going into the game, especially a sharp breaking ball. I didn't have it," Arroyo said on the team's website. "It forced me to kind of tip my hand early in the ballgame to get through those first two innings. When you do that, sometimes you're risking pigeonholing yourself with it late in the ballgame and not having something to go to in a situation."
Joey Votto and Xavier Paul both homered for the Reds, who are even with the Pirates at 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the NL Central lead. The Reds will visit the Steel City for three games over the weekend.
The Reds hope Homer Bailey can stop their eight-game losing streak in Cleveland when he toes the rubber Thursday. Bailey is 2-0 in his last four starts and threw six innings of two-run ball in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. He is now 3-3 in 10 appearances with a 3.08 ERA.
Bailey, a right-hander, is only 1-3 in five road assignments and 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA in six career starts against the Indians.
Cincinnati and Cleveland split six matchups a season ago.