Swisher’s Walkoff Gives Masterson, Tribe Big Win; Indians 1, White Sox 0
Bob Toth | On 12, Apr 2013
Justin Masterson blanked Chicago for nine innings and Nick Swisher drove in the winning run with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Cleveland Indians a much needed victory over the White Sox, 1-0.
After the Indians mustered just one hit through the first eight innings, Michael Bourn squeezed a one-out double down the left field line off of White Sox reliever Jesse Crain (0-1). Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out to second, moving Bourn to third.
Jason Kipnis, who in his previous at bat lined out hard to right field, took several pitches before being intentionally walked to bring up Swisher. First pitch swinging, the Tribe first baseman singled just inside the right field line to score Bourn with the “Awesome Amazingness” walkoff base knock.
“Crain’s had my number over the years,” said Swisher. “He’s always been tough for me to go against. My whole mindset was, I was kinda looking offspeed in that count, then I was able to see that fastball in. All I was trying to do was just eek it fair. I didn’t care if it bounced two feet over Dunn’s head. I was just trying to get that run in.”
“I was so proud of that at bat [by Kipnis] because, in a situation like that, you know you’re not going to get the best pitches to hit,” said Swisher. “He really showed a lot of maturity in that spot. He took two nasty breaking balls to start off. And then the 2-0 count, I’m thinking to myself, he’s going to give you the same pitch and he did and Kip took it and ended up walking him.”
Masterson (3-0, 0.41 ERA) threw another masterpiece as he continues to dominate the opposition. He earned the complete game win, striking out seven and effectively working out of the few situations he had with runners on base. He gave up just one walk in his five-hit shutout.
Masterson extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 19, a career-high, surpassing his previous best of 18. He threw 113 pitches – 81 for strikes – and had first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 31 batters he faced. He induced 14 ground balls to just four fly balls.
“Right now he is just throwing everything and it’s for strikes,” said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. “He’s able to elevate. When it’s down, it has tremendous depth to it. His breaking ball, he’s in a really great zone with that right now.”
The defense around Masterson aided him while his offense was frozen at the plate on the chilly April evening. Michael Brantley picked off Alex Rios trying to stretch a single into a double in the first. Yan Gomes threw out Alexei Ramirez trying to steal second base. Hector Gimenez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
“It would have been a shame for us not to go out and get Masty that win that he deserved,” Swisher said.
Chicago’s starter, left-hander Jose Quintana, limited the Indians to just one base hit and one other base runner on a hit by pitch (Swisher) in seven innings of work. He struck out seven and had the Indians guessing all night long.
“He’s got the little cutter into righties,” said Francona about Quintana. “He was really commanding arm-side with his fastball. Then he started getting comfortable and flipping that breaking ball in on hitters’ counts. He pitched a really good game.”
Matt Thornton worked an inning of perfect relief for Chicago.
Brantley and Bourn each had doubles in the Indians’ victory.
“Such a great team win,” said Swisher, “especially [with the way] the last couple games have gone for us.”
Chris Sale (1-0, 1.84) will take the mound for the White Sox in Saturday afternoon’s 4:05 PM start. It will be his third start of the season. In 14 career games against the Indians, including three starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA.
Zach McAllister (0-1, 3.00) will take the ball for Cleveland. He was on the receiving end of little run support from his offense and took the loss his first time out despite allowing just two earned runs (four total). He has been bumped back several days due to the addition of Carlos Carrasco to the rotation on Tuesday and two rain outs in the middle of the week against the Yankees.
Follow Saturday’s action on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and the Cleveland Indians radio network.
Photo: AP Photo / Tony Dejak