Masterson One Ups Yu; Indians 1, Rangers 0
Ronnie Tellalian | On 27, Jul 2013
Pitching ruled the day and one mistake was the key to the game as the Indians edged out the Rangers 1-0. Ace faced off against ace as the Indians Justin Masterson took the hill against the American League strikeout leader, Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish. The game was billed as a pitcher’s duel and it did not disappoint in this low scoring game.
Masterson struggled with his control in the top of the first inning. After striking out leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, Masterson gave up a single up the middle to Angel Beltre. After falling behind Nelson Cruz 3-0, he induced the groundout to third. Masterson again fell behind Adrian Beltre 3-0 before coming back and getting the strikeout to end the inning. He threw 23 pitches in the inning, but got out of it unscathed.
The Indians half of the first started off with a bang. Indians center fielder Michael Bourn offered at the second pitch he saw from Darvish and lined it over the fence in right field for a home run. It is the second time this season Bourn has hit a leadoff home run. Darvish shut the door on the rest of the inning, but the Indians came away with the early 1-0 lead. Leadoff home run aside, Darvish cruised through the first two innings striking out five batters to add to his league leading total. He fanned two in the first, and struck out the side in order in the second inning.
The Indians got some base runners on Darvish in the third inning. Lonnie Chisenhall showed some great plate discipline drawing a leadoff walk on eight pitches. Darvish struck out Drew Stubbs for out number one, bringing up Bourn. Despite the home run Bourn hit off of his cutter, Darvish attacked him with the pitch again. Bourn was able to fight off the attack and draw a walk to put two runners on with one out. Nick Swisher worked a full count out of Darvish, but the AL strikeout leader got him to swing and miss a slider to add his seventh strikeout of the game. Jason Kipnis swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to first base. Darvish threw 26 pitches in the inning but came away with no runs scored.
With one out in the fifth inning, Rangers catcher Giovanni Soto singled on a blooper into left center field. After Leonys Martin flew out for the second out of the inning, Kinsler was hit by a pitch to put two men on with two outs. Engel Beltre, who singled back in the first, again singled on a line drive into right field. Soto held up at third base and the bases were loaded for Nelson Cruz. Masterson buckled down and got Cruz to ground out to short, and the 1-0 lead was preserved for the Indians heading into the bottom of the fifth inning.
In the Indians half of the fifth, Darvish continued to mow down Tribe hitters. Lonnie Chisenhall grounded out to third to lead off the inning. Drew Stubbs came up and Darvish got the strikeout looking to bring his strikeout total on the game up to 10. This is the seventh time this season that Darvish has struck out 10 or more batters in a game. Bourn drew his second walk of the game to get a man on base, but Swisher made himself the eleventh strikeout of the game and the score remained 1-0 through five innings.
The Indians threatened with two outs in the sixth inning. Brantley doubled off the wall in right field, and Santana followed him up with a walk to put two batters on base for Jason Giambi. Brantley and Santana executed the double steal to make it runners on second and third with two down. Giambi worked a 2-2 count before getting the pitch he wanted. He gave it a ride deep into center field but Martin ran it down to end the sixth.
Darvish went six innings on the night, giving up one run on three hits; he struck out 11 and walked four, throwing 123 pitches. He gave way in the seventh to left hander Neal Cotts. The Indians were unable to get through on the former White Sox reliever and the score remained 1-0 after seven.
Masterson got two quick outs in the eighth inning. Kinsler jammed a chopper back to the pitcher for out number one, and Beltre attempted a drag but that Masterson again pounced on for out number two. Nelson Cruz came up and singled up the middle to give the Rangers their first base runner of the Innings. That would end the night for Masterson, he went 7.2 innings giving up zero runs on five hits, striking out eight and walking one. Joe Smith came on to try and finish out the inning. Smith got Adrian Beltre to fly out to deep left field to end the Inning and preserve the lead for Cleveland.
Chris Perez came on in the ninth inning for the save attempt. A.J. Pierzynski flew out to center field for out number one. Elvis Andrus struck out on three pitches, and Mitch Moreland grounded out to end the game and the Indians pulled off the tight 1-0 victory. Masterson earned his 12th win of the season and Perez his 14th save.
Tomorrow afternoon the Cleveland Indians (55-48) will close out their three game series with the Texas Rangers (56-48). Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5, 4.49) will face off against Alexi Ogando (4-2, 3.13) for the series finally. Jimenez is 1-0 against the Rangers this season, in his only start he went five innings giving up just one run while striking out four. Ogando has not faced the Indians this season, but is 3-0 in his career against the Tribe with a 0.84 ERA.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images