Indians 3, Angels 1

Terry Francona has been an extremely good fit for the Indians.

His players seem to feel the same way, considering the way they’ve

been contending for a postseason berth.

Justin Masterson pitched effectively into the seventh inning,

Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer and Cleveland completed a

three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 3-1 victory

Wednesday.

”We’ve got guys in here that want to be in the playoffs, and

we’re working our butts off to try and get there,” Swisher

said.

The Indians, who began the day 5 1/2 games behind first-place

Detroit in the AL Central and 3 1/2 behind Oakland in the race for

the second wild card spot, improved to 69-58 and surpassed last

season’s win total with 35 games to spare.

”I’m enjoying myself,” said Francona, who guided the Boston

Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles. ”I thought this was the

right place – I knew it was – and it’s been everything I hoped it

would be. I love the people I work with. I’m enjoying this team and

trying to see if we can get better together. It’s been fun.”

Masterson (14-9) allowed a run and five hits over 6 2-3 innings,

tied a season high with five walks and struck out seven just 10

days after giving up five runs over 4 1-3 innings against the

Angels at Cleveland in his shortest outing of the season. The

right-hander, who made his big league debut against the Angels in

April 2008, is 4-0 with a 1.87 ERA in nine career starts against

them.

”It wasn’t easy. I mean, you look up in the fourth inning and I

think Justin had more balls than strikes,” Francona said. ”But he

had good movement and he kind of bobbed and weaved through their

lineup. He only had probably one inning where he really

cruised.”

The Angels put the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring

position in the seventh before Masterson fanned Erick Aybar with

his 110th and final pitch for the second out. Rich Hill came on and

retired Josh Hamilton with a tremendous assist from third baseman

Lonnie Chisenhall, who robbed the Angels’ slugger of a hit with a

diving stop in the hole and threw him out.

”I feel a little disappointed that I only went 6 2-3 innings,

because the goal is to get as deep as I can,” Masterson said. ”I

had some good movement early in the game, got a lot of ground balls

and got some great defensive plays behind me.”

The Indians got an insurance run in the ninth when Mike Aviles

scored on Dane De La Rosa’s second wild pitch of the inning.

Cody Allen pitched a scoreless eighth for Cleveland and Chris

Perez got three outs for his 20th save in 24 attempts. The Indians’

bullpen had a 1.29 ERA and stranded 24 of 25 inherited baserunners

during the team’s 6-3 road trip.

Jerome Williams (5-10) yielded two runs and six hits in 6 1-3

innings with six strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander is 0-8

with a 6.79 ERA over his last 12 starts and his only victory at

home this season came in a 12-0 rout of Seattle on May 21.

”Everybody was tired today, and it would have been an easy day

to just show up,” said Francona, who used nine pitchers in Tuesday

night’s 14-inning win. ”We need to get wins like this.”

The Angels scored in the sixth when Hamilton led off with a

single and came all the way around on Hank Conger’s one-out double

into the right field corner. Los Angeles put runners at the corners

in the second and fourth innings, but Masterson escaped the first

jam with a strikeout of Peter Bourjos and the second on a flyball

by Andrew Romine.

”His ball was moving pretty well and was obviously sinking,”

Bourjos said. ”We had some opportunities to blow the game open

early, but we didn’t take advantage of it.”

NOTES: Romine started at 2B for Angels for the first time this

season in place of Howie Kendrick, who has missed 15 games because

of a hyperextended left knee. … Indians DH Jason Giambi doubled

in the second inning, putting him within two hits of 2,000. …

Masterson, who became a full-time starter in 2010, reached the

1,000-inning mark for his career when he fielded Bourjos’ leadoff

bunt in the fifth and threw him out. Bourjos had a bunt single in

the seventh, ending an 0-for-21 drought. … … The Indians are

42-39 since May 23, the last time they led their division. …

Cleveland LF Michael Brantley, who broke Rocky Colavito’s franchise

record of 212 consecutive errorless games by an outfielder in

Monday’s series opener, has committed only six errors since

beginning his big league career in 2009. … Swisher has two hits

in nine career at-bats against Williams, both of them homers.