Cleveland, OH — Cleveland hitters abused former American League Cy Young
Award winner Felix Hernandez
to the tune of six runs and Justin Masterson
posted 11 strikeouts in seven innings as the the Indians beat the Mariners 6-0.
“There’s not one guy in the clubhouse that didn’t think we had a chance to win and that’s a pretty big compliment to Masty,” said Indians manager Terry Francona
. “From the very first pitch of the game, when he came out firing, he was pitching and was using both sides of the plate.”
The Indians have now won their last four games in a row and will go for the sweep against the Mariners tomorrow. They stand to maintain a one game lead or extend their lead to two games in the American League Central depending on the outcome of Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers game at 8:00 p.m.
The Tribe bats put runs on the board in three of the five innings in which Hernandez pitched. In the first, Michael Bourn
scored from second on a single to right by Michael Brantley
. Nick Swisher
followed with a hard hit ball through the legs of Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak
, scoring Brantley from second to make the score 2-0.
In the second, Bourn reached on an infield single with two outs and advanced to third on a single by Jason Kipnis
. Brantley picked up three more RBIs by driving a homer 423 feet to right-center, his second of the season. His four runs batted in on the day tied a career high.
The Indians finished up the scoring in the fourth, on an odd ball that never left the infield. After shortstop Mike Aviles
doubled to open the inning, Drew Stubbs
hit a slow squibber up the first base line. Seattle catcher Jesus Montero
threw out Stubbs at first, but Aviles scored all the way from second base after neither Montero nor Hernandez covered home plate.
“That was intelligent, that was aggressive, that was inspiring,” said Francona.
Hernandez (5-3, 2.07), the American League leader in ERA coming into the game, allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks in five innings of work. He struck out eight.
Masterson (7-2, 2.83) kept Seattle bats quiet all afternoon. Over seven innings, he allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out 11, including the final three he faced.
“I think every pitcher is confident,” said Masterson regarding his recent streak of success. “There’s no point in getting over confident because this game will humble you quickly.
Over his last three starts, Masterson has allowed three runs in 23 innings while striking out 27. After his seven scoreless innings, he has pitched 19 scoreless innings in a row, the second time he has posted a scoreless innings streak of that length this season. The last Indians pitcher to post two scoreless streaks of 19 innings or more in one season was Roberto Hernandez
and Joe Smith
combined to pitch the final two innings. Hill walked one and struck out one in two-thirds of an inning. Smith recorded the final four outs while working around a walk and a double in the ninth.
The Indians will play the finale of their four game series with the Seattle Mariners Monday at 12:05 p.m. Lefty Scott Kazmir
(2-2, 5.33) will take the mound for the Tribe against right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma
Notes: Carlos Santana
continued to struggle with a 0-for-4 performance. He is 3-for his last-27 (.111). … The five earned runs Felix Hernandez allowed is one earned run more than he had allowed over his last 45 innings.