Masterson’s 10 K’s Shine After Early Offense; Indians 3, Red Sox 2
Mike B. | On 02, Jun 2014
Justin Masterson’s demise may have been prematurely reported.
After a very slow start over the first two months of the 2014 season, Masterson issued an outstanding performance on Monday evening, helping the Indians to a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox. What looked like another lukewarm performance through three innings, riddled with walks and long at-bats, ended in pure dominance over the last four frames.
Cleveland took advantage of early walks from Red Sox starter John Lackey, taking advantage of run-scoring opportunities that Boston did not. The Tribe’s early offense was enough to hold on late and snap Boston’s seven game winning streak. The Tribe now holds a modest four game winning streak of their own.
Masterson and the Tribe danced around trouble in the top of the first inning, before cashing in on a quick lead. Cleveland’s right-hander allowed a single and two walks in the first frame before coming back from a 3-0 count to strike out Jonny Gomes and elude an early deficit.
The Tribe scored an early lead when the Red Sox could not in the first inning. Michael Bourn walked and stole second base off Boston starter, John Lackey. After Asdrubal Cabrera struck out, Michael Brantley walked. Jason Kipnis grounded to first base, advancing both runners to scoring position and setting the stage for a two-out single to left field by Lonnie Chisenhall. Both runners scored and the Indians had a quick 2-0 lead over Lackey and the Red Sox.
Cleveland tacked on another early run in the bottom of the third inning when Michael Bourn started the inning with a triple to center field. Cabrera followed behind him with a single to right field to drive him home and make it 3-0. Bourn’s hit, gave him a hit in 15 of his last 16 games.
Meanwhile, after Boston scoring threats were thwarted in the first and third innings, Masterson seemed to lock in. After three innings, Masterson had already thrown 63 pitches—including four walks. But he struck out the side in the fourth inning on just nine pitches, followed by another quick inning in the fifth, leaving him at just 82 pitches. Masterson threw 25 straight strikes between the third and sixth innings.
Lackey settled down much the same of Masterson, just not in as dominant of fashion. Cleveland made the most of their two, first inning walks off Lackey because they were the only ones he’d allow for the game. Lackey (6-4) went the distance, pitching eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out three. The two walks helped ignite Cleveland’s first inning rally.
But Masterson (3-5) was the story of the evening. After a slow start, the former Red Sox farmhand and Boston bullpen pitcher shutout his former organization for seven innings, allowing just three hits and the four walks—all in the first three innings—while striking out 10 batters. It was without doubt, Masterson’s most impressive start of the season.
Bryan Shaw came on to pitch the eighth inning, but after recording an out allowed a single to Brock Holt and a two-run home run to Xander Bogaerts to cut the Indians’ lead to 3-2. Bogaerts’ fourth home run of the year forced the Indians to use Marc Rzepczynski against left-handed slugger David Ortiz to end the inning.
Cody Allen pitched a flawless ninth inning, setting the Red Sox down three-up, three-down. Allen’s fourth save of the season gave the Tribe their fourth straight win and the series opening victory in the three game set.
Cleveland will try to extend their win streak Tuesday night at Progressive Field. Left-hander T.J. House (0-1, 4.05) will look for his first Major League win in his third start of the season. House pitched well enough to win in his last start in Chicago, but the bullpen could not hold the lead. Boston will counter with right-hander Jake Peavy (1-2, 4.50). The veteran Peavy has struggled, like Masterson, in the early third of the season.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images