Masterson bounces back, Blue Jays edge Indians, 3-2
Tribe leaves them loaded in the ninth as relievers falter late
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think Gomes is playing way to aggressive instead of smart like he did last year.
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...
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.
Lack of Clutch hitting is killing this team. They let one get away last night.