Masterson, Indians roughed up by Tigers, lose 7-0
Cleveland, OH — A sold out Progressive Field crowd was left wanting as the Cleveland lineup mustered no runs against Detroit starter Rick Porcello, as the Tigers beat the Indians 7-0 in the opener of a four-game series. The Tribe now trails the Tigers by 2.5 games in the American League Central, but still has a chance to move to the top of the standings with three more games against Detroit wrapping around the weekend.
Porcello (5-6, 4.82) pitched like an ace, holding the Indians to just five hits over seven innings of work. He was never really threatened outside of a Carlos Santana fly out to the warning track in center field to end the sixth. The righty fueled a dominant performance by the visiting team in the first matchup between the division leaders.
"He worked ahead," said manager Terry Francona. "He threw strike one. He reached back for extra velocity when he needed it."
Al Alburquerque and Bruce Rondon pitched the eighth and ninth to preserve the shutout. It was the first time the Indians had been shut out since May 13 against New York, a period of 47 games. Indians starter Justin Masterson labored throughout his start and failed to make it out of the fifth.
Detroit plated their first runs with two outs in the second, as number nine hitter Ramon Santiago singled homeJhonny Peralta and Don Kelly. Santiago had been 0-for-13 on the season with runners in scoring position prior to the two-RBI single.
Detroit exercised their two-out muscles in the fifth, when with runners on first and second, Victor Martinez singled to right center, plating a fourth run. Peralta followed with a double that plated Prince Fielder and Martinez, stretching the Tigers lead to 6-0. Following the double, Masterson (10-7, 3.78) was finished, having allowed six earned runs in four and two-thirds innings of work. He allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out six.
"When the sinker is up, anyone can hit it," Masterson said. "It doesn't matter what the numbers are."
Rich Hill finished the inning and retired all three batters he faced in the sixth. Joe Martinez saved the bullpen, pitching the final three innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits. Following the game, Martinez was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to make room for starter Carlos Carrasco.
The Indians offense mustered just six hits against Detroit pitching, with Santana the only one with two hits. Second baseman Jason Kipnis did single in the bottom of the sixth, extending his hitting streak to 16 games. He has now reached base in 36 games in a row.
The Indians and Tigers will play game two of the series Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. Carlos Carrasco (0-3, 8.17) will be seeking his first win of the season against Detroit right-hander Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 2.76), who is returning from the 15-day disabled list.
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.