Indians 1, Rangers 0

BY foxsports • July 28, 2013

Justin Masterson's teammates gave him one run of support. Cleveland's ace, with a little help from the bullpen, made sure that was enough.

Masterson took a shutout into the eighth inning and outdueled Texas' Yu Darvish in the Indians' 1-0 win on Saturday night.

Michael Bourn homered to lead off the first inning for the game's only run. Masterson (12-7), an American League All-Star, struck out eight and allowed five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He shut down the Rangers and beat Darvish (9-5), who struck out 11 and held the Indians to three hits in six innings.

Masterson knew runs would be tough to come by.

''I was thinking, `OK let's keep going,' maybe one an inning, that would be great,'' Masterson said. ''I knew that probably wouldn't happen with Yu out there, the great pitcher that he is.''

Darvish's only mistake came on his second pitch when Bourn hit a line drive that barely cleared the wall in right field. The home run was hit in Bourn's first career at-bat against the Texas ace.

''I heard a lot about him,'' Bourn said. ''I believe the hype.''

Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 14th save. Masterson retired the first two hitters in the eighth but was pulled after Nelson Cruz's two-out single. Joe Smith retired Adrian Beltre on a line drive to left that was caught on the warning track.

''Wow, that was impressive on both sides,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''That's a tough game to win.''

While not as pleased with the outcome, Rangers manager Ron Washington praised both pitchers.

''Yu was outstanding,'' he said. ''After that second pitch to Bourn, they couldn't hit him. But we couldn't hit Masterson, either.''

The Rangers have lost 11 of 14 and are 2-7 since the All-Star break.

Masterson had struggled against the Rangers before Saturday, going 0-4 with a 7.54 ERA in eight career appearances. He retired nine straight batters before Cruz's single and was given a standing ovation by the 24,242 fans as he walked to the dugout.

''You want to stay in there, but I trust Tito (Francona) when he comes out there,'' said Masterson, who threw 113 pitches.

Masterson, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by retiring Cruz on a ground ball, has been the winning pitcher in three 1-0 games this season. The other two were complete game performances against the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.

''The great thing about the 1-0 games is they go quick,'' he said. ''Everyone's pretty happy about that. It's just nice. You feel like you're getting out there. Sometimes that helps keep that rhythm you have.''

This one took 2 hours, 37 minutes to complete.

''Sometimes you have to win games like that,'' Francona said. ''That's what the leader of your staff does.''

Masterson has allowed one earned run in 14 2-3 innings in two starts since the All-Star break. He took a no-hitter into the seventh on Sunday against Minnesota.

Darvish leads the majors with 172 strikeouts and has reached double figures seven times this season. Darvish, who threw 123 pitches, has failed to last seven innings in six straight starts. He has lost both starts to Cleveland this season.

Bourn took an aggressive approach after taking Darvish's first pitch for a ball.

''I didn't want him to get ahead too deep into the count,'' Bourn said. ''I know how tough he is.''

Darvish took control after Bourn's homer, striking out the side in the second and fanning two batters in the third, fourth and fifth. Cabrera reached third with two outs in the fourth, but Jason Giambi struck out.

Jason Kipnis' bid for a leadoff homer in the sixth fell a couple of feet short as Cruz made the catch in front of the right field wall. Michael Brantley doubled and Carlos Santana walked with two outs. Brantley stole third, and Santana stole second during Giambi's at-bat. The inning ended when Leonys Martin ran down Giambi's drive in left-center.

Elvis Andrus singled in the second inning and has had a hit in all 36 career games against Cleveland.

After scoring eight runs and rallying from a 7-1 deficit in Friday's loss, the Rangers' offense returned to its lackluster ways.

Texas right-hander Tanner Scheppers, who was assaulted while walking on a Cleveland street Thursday night, didn't pitch for the second straight game. Scheppers, who sustained facial cuts and bruises, said before Saturday's game that he was available to pitch.

NOTES: Beltre struck out in the first, ending a stretch of 83 straight plate appearances without a strikeout. His previous strikeout was on July 3 against Seattle. ... OF David Murphy wasn't in the lineup despite being 4 for 4 with two homers against Masterson. Washington said Murphy will play Sunday in the series finale. ... Bourn has seven career leadoff homers. ... RHP Josh Tomlin (Tommy John surgery) pitched a scoreless inning in his first minor league rehab start for the Indians team in the Arizona rookie league on Friday. Tomlin, who had the surgery last season, is expected to return in 2014. ... Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5) takes on Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando (4-2) in the finale of the three-game series Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Ogando is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in eight career games against Cleveland.