The Cleveland offense did not provide Justin Masterson with a lot of support, but the Indians scored just enough for their ace to hold off Los Angeles and complete the three-game sweep of the Angels, securing a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night.
It was their first sweep in Anaheim since the 1999 season. They return home after finishing off a 6-3 road trip.
After missing an opportunity with two in scoring position with two out in the first inning, the Indians struck through for a pair of runs in the third inning in support of starter Masterson.
Michael Bourn led off the frame with his second hit in as many at bats, tripling to deep right off of Angels starter Jerome Williams. Nick Swisher followed with his 15th home run of the season, a shot to right that gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.
The Angels struck for a run in the bottom half of the sixth inning against Masterson. After a leadoff single by Josh Hamilton, Mark Trumbo lined out. A double to right center by Hank Conger scored Hamilton, cutting the Indians’ lead in half, 2-1.
The Indians loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but could not score. Mike Aviles singled to right. After a fly out by Lonnie Chisenhall, Drew Stubbs walked, ending the night for Williams. Buddy Boshers relieved and struck out Bourn swinging, but walked Swisher to load the bases for Jason Kipnis. Mired in a series long slump, Kipnis grounded out to second to end the inning without a runner crossing the plate.
Williams (5-10) limited the damage against the Indians, containing them to just the two earned runs in six and one-third innings of work on the night. He struck out six while allowing six hits and a pair of walks.
The Angels threatened again in the bottom half of the inning. Andrew Romine walked to lead off the inning against Masterson. Peter Bourjos, attempting to move the runner along, reached base successfully with an infield bunt single. JB Shuck sacrificed both runners over for the first out, and Masterson rebounded by striking out Erick Aybar for the second out of the inning. Rich Hill came on in relief and retired Hamilton on a grounder to third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall to end the inning.
In need of a solid outing with a depleted bullpen from the 14 inning effort the night before, Masterson (14-9) pitched into the seventh inning for manager Terry Francona. He allowed one earned run on five hits, walked five, and struck out seven. He threw 110 pitches, 59 of which were for strikes.
Cleveland added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. Aviles singled to center and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Chisenhall moved him to third on a grounder to second. A walk to Stubbs put runners on the corners with a chance to escape the inning unharmed, but reliever Dane De La Rosa’s pitch to Bourn was again wild, scoring Aviles from third, making the score 3-1.
Chris Perez, on for his third appearance in three days, allowed a one-out single to Bourjos in the ninth, but struck out a pair in the inning to earn his 20th save of the year.
Bourn had three hits and reached base a fourth time via walk, giving him five hits in 15 at bats in the series. Kipnis was 0-for-14 in the series.
Every batter in the Angels’ lineup had at least one strikeout with the exception of Kole Calhoun.
The Indians improved to 69-58 with the win, surpassing last season’s total number of wins. They remain five and a half games in back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central and now trail the Oakland A’s by two and a half games in the AL Wild Card. They have a day off on Thursday before hosting the Minnesota Twins in a brief, three-game weekend series at Progressive Field beginning Friday night.
Ubaldo Jimenez (9-7, 4.00 ERA) is scheduled to face Sam Deduno (7-7, 3.82) in that contest. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM and can be seen on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio.
Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images