Indians clinch Texas series with 1-0 win
Masterson dominates as the Tribe records 13th shutout of the season
Cleveland, OH -- Michael Bourn hit his second leadoff home run of the season off Texas ace Yu Darvish andJustin Masterson struck out eight as the Cleveland Indians beat the Rangers 1-0 Saturday night at Progressive Field.
Darvish (9-5, 2.80), coming off a two-hit, no-run performance after a stint on the disabled list, was as good as advertised, striking out 11 Indians, but the early mistake doomed him against an even better Masterson.
"I didn't want him to get ahead too deep into the count," Bourn said. "I know how tough he is."
After taking ball one, Bourn was looking for an early fastball and took advantage, lining Darvish's 1-0 pitch just over the wall in right field. The homer was Bourn's second in three games and his fourth of the season.
"I heard a lot about him," Bourn said. "I believe the hype."
Signed in the offseason to be a catalyst at the top of the lineup, Bourn has hit in five games in a row while driving in eight runs in his last three games.
Darvish settled in after Bourn's homer, striking out the side in the second and along with two batters in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Jason Kipnis nearly hit another leadoff homer to lead off the sixth, but the ball fell a few feet short of the right field wall. Michael Brantley doubled and Carlos Santana walked with two outs. Brantley stole third, and Santana stole second with Giambi at the plate, but the inning ended with a long fly out to left-center.
Darvish leads the majors with 172 strikeouts despite missing two starts and has reached double figures seven times this season. He threw 123 pitches, but failed to last seven innings for the sixth straight start. He has lost both starts against Cleveland this season.
Masterson (12-7, 3.42) struck out eight and allowed just five hits in seven and two-thirds innings. He grew stronger as the game went on, striking out four straight Rangers in the sixth and seventh. Masterson had previously struggled against the Rangers before Saturday, posting a 0-4 record with a 7.54 ERA in eight career appearances.
"Sometimes you have to win games like that," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's what the leader of your staff does."
"You want to stay in there, but I trust Tito when he comes out there," said Masterson, who finished with 113 pitches.
Chris Perez came on in the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 14th save of the season. He has retired all nine hitters he has faced in the series.
After rallying from a 7-1 deficit in Friday's loss, the Texas offense fell back into its recent slump. The Rangers have lost 11 of 14 and are 2-7 since the All-Star break.
The Indians will look for the sweep against the Rangers as the teams will play the finale of the three-game series Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5, 4.49) will face off against Alexi Ogando (4-2, 3.13), who is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in eight games against the Indians.
Notes: Bourn has seven career leadoff home runs. … Masterson struck out Adrian Beltre in the first, ending his stretch of 83 straight plate appearances without a strikeout. … Elvis Andrus singled in the second inning and has a hit in all 36 career games against Cleveland.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.