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Masterson bounces back, Blue Jays edge Indians, 3-2

Tribe leaves them loaded in the ninth as relievers falter late

Masterson bounces back, Blue Jays edge Indians, 3-2
Toronto rallies late to edge Cleveland in series opener (Photo: ESPN)
April 18, 2014
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CLEVELAND—It wasn’t a good Friday by any means for the Indians in their series opener with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Loading up the bases with two out in the bottom of the ninth, the Tribe couldn’t deliver any walk-off magic, as they fell in a frustrating loss to Toronto, 3-2.

After a leadoff double by Lonnie Chisenhall put the tying run on second in the ninth, Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos worked some magic of his own. Striking out Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to get two quick outs, Santos battled but walked the next two hitters to load up the bags for Michael Brantley.

As smooth as the left fielder has been in the clutch this season, Brantley couldn’t get the job done, grounding out to first base to end the ballgame.

“When you put yourself in a tough spot, it’s hard to win those games,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “If Brantley’s ball is a couple feet over, we win.”

Offensively, Cleveland (7-9) went a hitless 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 runners on base.

“Right now it just seems like we’re all still a little rusty,” right-hander Justin Masterson said. “There are still some kinks we’re working out as we go through it.”

The Tribe starter looked anything but rusty Friday night, tossing his best outing since the first game of the season. Masterson (0-0, 4.98 ERA) allowed just two runs on six hits through 6 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out nine.

“The last few games the slider has been picking up pretty good,” he said. “It’s just been better.”

Toronto tagged the Cleveland ace for a run in the fourth on a RBI infield single by third baseman Brett Lawrie to take the early 1-0 lead. It was one pitch before the hit that proved costly, as Masterson threw a wild pitch which allowed Colby Rasmus to move to third after a double in the inning.

As good as the Indians right-hander was, his counterpart was just as good. Toronto starter Drew Hutchison (1-1, 3.60 ERA) allowed two runs on eight hits but over 5 1/3 innings of work. The 23-year-old also struck out nine as well, without yielding a walk.

“I’ve known Hutch for awhile, and that’s kind of how he is,” Tribe catcher Yan Gomes said. “He doesn’t seem like he throws too hard, but he was getting in a rhythm when he was putting guys away with the same pitches. Credit to him he pitched a really good ballgame.”

Amidst a 1-for-30 slump, third baseman Carlos Santana broke out in a big way Friday. With the Blue Jays leading 1-0 in the sixth, the switch-hitter ripped a two-run homer to the lower deck in right to give the Tribe their first lead of the game.

But, just as the Indians have been accustomed to so far in 2014, Toronto would storm right back a half inning later. The Jays would tack on two more runs, first by a RBI single by Japanese sensation Munenori Kawasaki off left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (0-1, 1.35 ERA) who relieved Masterson and took the loss. Two batters later, Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion gave his team the lead for good with a RBI base hit off Cody Allen.

“The score of the game and who was hitting kind of dictated going to the bullpen,” Francona said. “It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”

It was during that Encarnacion’s at-bat that Gomes also played into the Cleveland loss, as he tried to throw out Kawasaki on a pickoff attempted that bounced away from Swisher.

“Swish and I put that play on, and it’s a tough one to swallow because in the end it ended up costing us the game,” Gomes said.

It was already the catcher’s fifth error on the young season.

“I guess now it’s going to become a learning experience,” he said. “That aggressiveness is never going to get away from me.”

Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar (1-0, 5.68 ERA) picked up the win for the Jays tossing 2/3 of an inning in relief of Hutchison.

“We were streaky last year, but I think we’re really close to being where we want to be,” Masterson said. “Although we lost this game, I think guys are still feeling momentum is moving in a good direction. It’s coming around.”

Up next for Indians: Afternoon baseball, as the Tribe hopes to even up the three game series with Toronto Saturday at 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Corey Kluber (1-1, 5.40 ERA) takes the hill for the Wahoo’s against Blue Jays lefty Mark Buehrle (3-0, 0.86 ERA).

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Hermie13
April 21, 2014 - 10:13 AM EDT
The sooner Hamilton is off the radio in Cleveland the better IMO. Can't stand listening to him. Miss Herbie...
Robert
April 20, 2014 - 6:51 PM EDT
Avory is right-on. Santana had a good 2013 season and was a big contributor to the success last year. Really Hamilton owes Santana and the radio audience an apology. Maybe Rosie should announce more than two innings. It seems like Hamilton has run out of worthwhile things to say.
Avory
April 20, 2014 - 1:11 AM EDT
Matt, you and Robert hit the nail on the head. Listen, I love Gomes, but Hammy was completely out of line with his vendetta against Santana last year. At best it was embarrassing broadcasting, but it bordered on character assassination. No one said Carlos was a gold glove caliber catcher, but Hamilton insinuated that Carlos was lazy and wasn't working hard at his craft. Now we see it isn't so easy handling our erratic staff, and playing with the expectations that accompany a big contract after a good year no one saw coming. That's all changed now. Except that Hamilton's double standard for each guy continues. I lost a ton of respect for Hammy's behavior last year. (And in truth, his chippy, snide commentary on a number of subjects is starting to wear very thin with me.)
Matt
April 19, 2014 - 8:10 PM EDT
I agree Robert. It almost seemed personal the way Tom Hamilton was ripping Santana last year. Gomes is in a terrible funk right now, another passed ball today. I can only imagine what Hamilton would say if it was Santana.
Roger
April 19, 2014 - 11:18 AM EDT
5 errors in 3 weeks doesnt equate well to me. he has a bazooka of a throwing arm but to me you have to be acccurate if you have 38% throw out rate but several errors you end up giving more extra bases then arm saves maybe let carlos catch a while so gomer can catch his breathe today definately day game following night game. mike at third ryan dh not gomer at dh.
Robert
April 19, 2014 - 10:40 AM EDT
Tom Hamilton has been ripping Carlos Santana about his defense as catcher for the past year. Gomes makes Santana look like Sandy Alomar so far this year.
yourtribe
April 19, 2014 - 10:32 AM EDT
thie team needs to wake up fast. every night some part(s) of the team falters. and it's multiple players.
Walter
April 19, 2014 - 10:25 AM EDT
and Brantley almost bailed them out in 9th inning. Too bad the ball was hit right at 1B.

I think Gomes is playing way to aggressive instead of smart like he did last year.
James
April 19, 2014 - 10:09 AM EDT
I think the most concerning thing for me is Gomes' defensive regression. Last year he looked great behind the plate, this year his throws are off and his blocking is mediocre. Maybe its rust, maybe he's pressing, but he doesn't look good back there.
GSon
April 19, 2014 - 9:27 AM EDT
Another game of missed opportunities..

The hitters couldn't get the bunt down, could get the sac fly.. couldn't get the base knock..

The fielders couldn't throw, couldn't turn the DP..

They just couldn't do anything right on the night...

A day game with old nemesis Mark Buehrle on the hill.. Getting a W today would be nice...
Rich
April 19, 2014 - 8:55 AM EDT
Gomes coughed up the win with another wild throw plus a terrible at-bat where he chased a high fastball on the first pitch and popped out with a man on 3rd and one out.

Bourn is simply not ready. He's 1-for-12 and couldn't even get a bunt down. In four at-bats he didn't see a single pitch out of the strike zone. The Jays pitchers had no respect for him. When your leadoff hitter is an easy out and can't even move the runner with a bunt, your offense is in a lot of trouble.

We should have stuck with the white-hot Nyjer Morgan until Bourn showed he could at least hit .200 in AA.

Having said that, he'll probably go 4-for-4 today. But I doubt it, especially with a lefty on the mound. He shouldn't be in the lineup at all. He's actually doing his rehab with the Indians, and it shows.

He also had a crucial error in centerfield the other night. Actually it was two errors as he dropped the ball then overthrew the cutoff man.

After the way he played last year I'm really concerned we got stuck wtih a bad contract. He's definitely untradable.

Harang looks like this year's Scott Kazmir, only better. Too bad we couldn't find a spot for him. There's no way they were going to release Carrasco or send Salazar to the minors to make room for Harang, though. The only option would be to start Carrasco in the bullpen, but he's 27 and it's time to find out once and for all if he has a future.
Walter
April 19, 2014 - 8:05 AM EDT
You could thank Giambi, He found the flaw in his mechanics back in Spring training. Now Harang is taken advantage, At least he is in National League not with with those dam Yankees or any other American League teams.

Lack of Clutch hitting is killing this team. They let one get away last night.
yankeesrbarf
April 19, 2014 - 4:33 AM EDT
aaron Harang worth 10 carascos

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