The Cleveland Indians remain red hot after taking the first two
of three against the Seattle Mariners.
They’ll have to go through Seattle’s ace if they want a 17th win
in 21 games, but the Indians will also have their top pitcher on
Cleveland’s Justin Masterson squares off against Felix Hernandez
and the Mariners on Sunday at Progressive Field.
The Indians (24-17) have won 16 of 21 and 11 of 13 at home
following two dramatic victories over the Mariners, 6-3 on Friday
and 5-4 on Saturday. Jason Kipnis, who delivered the winning homer
in the 10th inning Friday, crossed the plate with the winning run
in the bottom of the ninth in the latest game as Mark Reynolds hit
into a fielder’s choice.
That thwarted Seattle’s comeback attempt, as the Mariners got
homers from Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak off closer Chris Perez in
the top of the inning.
Reynolds had been 3 for 23 over eight games before going 2 for 5
with his 12th homer and three RBIs on Saturday.
“We made it more exciting than it needed to be, but there is
something to be said for being resilient,” manager Terry Francona
said. “Rather than feeling sorry for yourself when you get punched
in the gut, we came back to win.”
Masterson (6-2, 3.14 ERA) pitched his second shutout of the
season and third of his career Monday, throwing a four-hitter with
nine strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the New York Yankees. He’s the
first Indian with two shutouts in a season since Bud Black and Greg
Swindell did it in 1989.
“It’s really just being able to win the game, whether it’s 1-0,
1,500 to zero, it doesn’t matter,” Masterson said. “Guys were
making great plays, that’s what pumps you up as the game goes on.
We’re all in it together.”
The right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA in nine career
games – six starts – versus Seattle (20-23), but he’s given up 13
runs over 12 innings in his last two starts against them.
Hernandez (5-2, 1.53) has also been rolling, though he suffered
a scare his last time out when he left after six innings against
the Yankees on Tuesday after appearing to hurt his back while
fielding a ground ball and throwing to second.
He was visited by trainers, who didn’t seem to be overly
“I felt a pinch in there – nothing bad. Nothing serious,” he
told the team’s official website after allowing one run and
striking out eight. “I’ll be ready for the next one.”
Hernandez has not allowed more than one earned run in his last
He’s gone 6-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 13 starts versus Cleveland. The
right-hander has limited Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera to a
combined 13 of 65 (.200), though Swisher has four home runs in 48
Masterson has also given a number of Mariners trouble, with
Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Smoak and Dustin Ackley going a combined 6
for 35 (.171) against him.