Indians, Masterson fall to Red Sox 6-3
Tribe suffers their third straight loss
Cleveland, OH -- Still carrying heavy hearts, the Boston Red Sox also carried with them a heavy dose of offense for the second straight game, as they defeated the Tribe Wednesday night, 6-3.
Coming into the ballgame with a 19 scoreless inning streak, Indians starter Justin Masterson came down from his early season dominance as the right-hander suffered his first loss of the season. Red Sox hitters scored four of their six runs off Masterson (3-1, 1.67 ERA) on 11 hits through the first five innings. As bad of outing for Masterson as that may sound, the Indians ace settled in, but was unable to get enough backing from a continued struggling Cleveland offense.
“[Masterson] kept battling and kept fighting after that first inning,” Tribe manager Terry Francona said. “He gave us a chance to win the game.”
It was not a pretty start to the ballgame, as the Indians righty allowed the first five Boston hitters to reach base before recording an out, and the Red Sox jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. After loading the bases with no outs for the second straight inning, Masterson danced around trouble without yielding another run. He gave up just one more run on the night, as the right-hander walked one and struck out five.
“I thought I made some good pitches early on,” Masterson said. “They just put them in play where guys weren’t, going to the other side. They just got too many too early.”
It wasn’t walks that gave Cleveland problems, but rather a solid hitting approach at the plate by Boston hitters to go to the opposite field.
“They stayed on him and went the other way very well,” Francona said. “Masty pitched out of traffic and bobbed and weaved his way out of things, but their approach on him was very good.”
Boston slugged out six runs on 15 hits in the game for their second straight victory over the Indians and their slow-moving offense.
Cleveland bats could not get anything going against Red Sox starter Alfredo Aceves early on, as the Boston right hander held the Tribe without a run on just four hits through the first five innings. The Indians had a chance to cut into the deficit in the fifth inning, loading the bases up with two outs and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate. Cabrera would just miss an extra-base hit, as he lined a fly ball to right field that was brought in on running catch by Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino to end the inning.
Victorino went 3-for-3 on the night and played solid defense for the BoSox again on Wednesday.
Highlights for the Tribe offense came in the home half of the sixth inning. After catcher Carlos Santana began the inning with a walk, back-to-back home runs by Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi cut the lead to just two runs. It was too little, too late offensively for the Indians though, as Cleveland is now just 2-6 when scoring three runs or less this year.
On his solo blast, Giambi became third oldest Indians player to homer in a ballgame at 42 years old.
The Boston bullpen shut down the Tribe offense for the final four innings without giving up a hit, striking out eight. Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa had four of the eight strkeouts, as the Japanese pitcher struck out the side in the seventh inning. Andrew Bailey picked up his first save of the season pitching a scoreless ninth.
“It was just one of those games. Not as fun as the other three I pitched,” Masterson said. “But in a season of 30-plus starts you’re going to have games like this.”
Notes: Prior to Wednesday’s game, Cleveland placed centerfielder Michael Bourn on the 15-Day DL retroactive to Apr. 15. He is expected to miss about two weeks recovering from stitches in his right index finger. Pitcher Cory Kluber has assumed Bourn’s spot on the 25-man roster and will be used out of the bullpen.
Also fighting the injury bug is Tribe second baseman Jason Kipnis. Out for the fourth straight game on Wednesday with a sore elbow, Kipnis will miss one more game before his return to the lineup on Friday.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Jim... as usual good game recap.
Of course it doesn't hurt that the left side of the Indians infield is weak defensively, with Droobs having no range and Chiz butchering any ground ball that isn't routine.
I'm sure other teams will take the same approach. It will be interesting to see if Masty can make the adjustments.
It's discouraging to see some guy named Matt Carp come off the bench and get three extra base hits off your #1 starter. He only had three at-bats in their first 13 games, but he owned Masty last night.
The Indians are going nowhere as long as their infield continues to provide zero offense. Chiz is at .200, Droobs is hitting .118, Kipnis is at .125, and Phelps is 0-for-5 filling in for Kipnis. Only Reynolds is doing anything.
On the bright side, Stubbs has gotten on base five times in the last two games hitting leadoff in place of Bourn. That's way more than I expected.