Indians 3, Yankees 1
The Streak Buster did it again.
Justin Masterson handled New York’s power-packed lineup for 6
2-3 innings and Michael Brantley hit a three-run homer as the
Cleveland Indians snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 3-1 win
over the Yankees on Saturday night.
For the second time this month, Masterson (10-11) ended a long
skid for the Indians, whose stunning second-half collapse has
dropped them from playoff contention. On Aug. 8, Masterson beat
Minnesota and stopped Cleveland’s 11-game slide, one loss shy of
the club record.
”He’s our go-to guy whenever we’re going through tough times,”
Indians manager Manny Acta said. ”He’ll get us out of it. He’s our
Brantley homered in the first inning off Hiroki Kuroda (12-9),
and the Indians, who were just 3 1/2 games out of first place on
July 26, won for only the fifth time in 27 games.
Cleveland is 5-18 in August, a month that has felt like a
”It’s been rough,” said closer Chris Perez, who worked the
ninth for his 33rd save. ”I’ve never been through something like
this. I was here in 2010, when we were pretty brutal – but we were
brutal all year. To go from competing to all of a sudden three
weeks later … it was just a free-fall.”
Masterson, roughed up by Oakland in his previous start, allowed
one run and seven hits. He walked two, struck out six and worked
his way out of a major mess in the sixth, when the Yankees loaded
the bases with none out and were a hit away from either tying the
game or taking the lead.
”It happens,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. ”Our guys
had pretty good at-bats. We weren’t able to get that big hit.”
With the victory, the Indians avoided becoming the first team
since the Kansas City Royals in 2006 to have two losing streaks of
at least 10 games in the same season.
Vinnie Pestano replaced Masterson in the seventh, inheriting two
runners with two outs. Pestano walked Robinson Cano to load the
bases before breaking Mark Teixeira’s bat on a popup.
Perez pitched a perfect ninth, striking out Derek Jeter for the
The colorful closer punctuated the strikeout with a fist pump,
and moments later, the Indians lined up in the infield to exchange
high-fives and celebrate a rare win.
”It’s nice to smile after the game. It’s been a rough month, a
very rough month,” Acta said. ”We’re looking forward to turning
things around and see some of our kids get out there and make some
impact on the games we have left.”
Despite their fifth loss in six road games, the AL East-leading
Yankees remained 3 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay, which lost 4-2 to
Kuroda gave up Brantley’s homer in the first, but shut out
Cleveland on just four hits over the next seven innings. It was his
fifth career complete game and first loss when going all the
Masterson coasted through five innings, allowing just three hits
and holding a 3-0 lead.
But the Yankees had him on the ropes in the sixth, when they
loaded the bases with none out on two singles and a walk.
Teixeira’s sacrifice fly to deep center made it 3-1, and Masterson
walked Curtis Granderson to refill the bases. However, Masterson
got Eric Chavez on a liner to third and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo
ran down Russell Martin’s drive at the warning track.
As the ball left his bat, Martin thought it would clear Choo’s
”I did at first, but the ball just died and he was there,”
Martin said. ”I thought I struck it better than that, but
obviously I didn’t.”
Masterson got the first two outs in the seventh, but gave up
consecutive singles to Jeter and Nick Swisher. Acta pulled
Masterson, who got a loud ovation from the crowd of 34,374 – nearly
half of them Yankees fans – as he left the field. Fortunately for
the Indians, this time their bullpen didn’t let them down.
In their previous 22 losses, the Indians had the lead at some
point in nine of them but their relievers blew some games in the
NOTES: Jeter has a .366 career average at Progressive Field –
his highest at any ballpark. He went 2 for 5 and leads the majors
with 173 hits. … Girardi expects LHP Andy Pettitte to appear in
another major league game this season. Pettitte has been on the
disabled list with a broken left ankle since June 28. He threw in
the outfield before the game and is scheduled to visit Dr. Chris
Ahmad on Monday in New York. … The Indians are optimistic 3B
Lonnie Chisenhall will return before the season ends. He broke his
right arm when he was hit by a pitch June 29 and underwent surgery.
Acta said Chisenhall will take on-field batting practice