Justin Masterson had a perfect game through four innings Tuesday night in Camden Yards. But two innings and one out later, Terry Francona made the call to the bullpen that sent Masterson to the showers.
Tuesday marked the Indian’s second contest of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. Masterson (9-6, 3.76 ERA) recorded a loss against Chris Tillman (9-2, 3.72 ERA) and a six-hit, two-homer night from the Baltimore lineup.
Cleveland got to Tillman early. In the first inning Tillman gave up a hit to Mike Aviles and walked Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher to load the bases. Then Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Aviles—Brantley’s 38th RBI—and put the Tribe up 1-0.
After the quick start, all was quiet for both teams until the fifth inning. Michael Bourn landed a ball just inside the foul line in left field for a double. Aviles bunted him over to third. With one out in the books, Kipnis took a high-and-outside fastball to the seats in center field to inflate the lead to three runs. The two-run shot was Kipnis’s 10th bomb of the season.
But Baltimore made some noise of their own in the fifth frame.
Adam Jones swung on the first pitch he saw and sent it into shallow center—Jones’s hit provided the Orioles with their first baserunner of the game. Chris Davis followed suit with a long single to the right field wall. After Matt Wieters struck out swinging, J.J. Hardy grounded into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to put the Birds on the board, 3-1.
Two innings later Jones and Davis lit up the scoreboard again. The first pitch of the inning hit Jones in the back of the leg. The next pitch jumped off Davis’s bat and over the wall in right field, knotting the score at 3-3.
Masterson put two more runners on base before the seventh ended—a four-pitch walk to Wieters and an infield single to Chris Dickerson. Then Alexi Casilla hit his first homer of the season to right field to give the Orioles a 6-3 lead and ended Masterson’s night.
Cleveland put up a fight in the top of the ninth, though, putting two runners on and bringing the would-be tying run to the plate twice. With two outs, Bourn went down swinging to end the game. With the loss, the Tribe drops to 39-37 on the year.
With his walk in the first, Kipnis extended his on-base streak to 27 games.
After taking two of three from Texas, Washington, Kansas City and Minnesota, Cleveland will look to stretch their series winning steak to five during the four game series in Baltimore.