Reds rocked by Indians 8-1
A serious musician, pitcher Bronson Arroyo was part of a group of Cincinnati Reds who toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the team's visit.
On Wednesday, he got rocked.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer and Johnny Damon connected for a two-run shot off Arroyo in the fourth inning as the Indians pounded Cincinnati 8-1 to complete a three-game sweep of the Reds, who had swept three straight from their northern Ohio counterparts at home last week.
''It was a tough three days,'' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ''The first two days we had chances to win those games. They beat us up good tonight. It's a strange game. We swept them at our place and they turned around and swept us at their place.''
The Reds came to town riding a season-high, six-game winning streak. They left reeling.
''It will be nice to get home,'' Baker said. ''It was only a six-day road trip, but it seemed a lot longer than that.''
Justin Masterson (4-6) pitched a three-hitter for his first complete game this season as the AL Central-leading Indians followed a walk-off win with a blowout.
Masterson (4-6) took a shutout into the eighth before the Reds ended the right-hander's streak of consecutive scoreless innings at 18. He did not walk a batter and struck out nine, including the side in the ninth, for his fourth career complete game. Cincinnati's only run was unearned.
Arroyo was charged with five runs and eight hits in four innings - his shortest outing this season. The right-hander has just one win in his past eight starts.
''It was a grind,'' Arroyo said. ''I was up around 80 pitches (by the fourth). It was hot out there. Masterson was pitching so good. I found myself back on the mound every three minutes after I had sat back down. He threw an unbelievable ballgame. He got 100 ground balls. They just dominated us on both ends.''
Lonnie Chisenhall added three RBIs for the Indians, who played poorly while losing three in a row last week in Cincinnati, but have turned things around to move back atop their division.
''We're a resilient team,'' said Masterson, who became the first Cleveland pitcher to record a complete game at home since 2010. "I think we'll be able to carry this momentum on the road and have a lot of fun with it.''
It was the first time the Reds and Indians had faced each other as first-place teams since 1999, and Masterson made sure Cleveland came out on top.
The Reds did not get a runner to second against Masterson until the eighth. Cabrera booted Jay Bruce's leadoff grounder to shortstop and Todd Frazier doubled with one out. Willie Harris followed with an RBI groundout, the first run given up by Masterson since June 9 in St. Louis - a career-best 18 innings.
Masterson capped the ninth by getting the dangerous Joey Votto to look at strike three, an exclamation point on his dominant performance.
''There was a little fire there,'' Masterson said. ''I wanted to close it out.''
Baker knew Masterson was capable of shutting down his team.
''When he's on, he's very tough,'' Baker said, ''and he was on tonight. His ball was moving everywhere.''
Masterson's record may not show it, but he's been one of Cleveland's most consistent starters.
This was his fourth straight quality outing, and for a change, the Indians gave him some run support. He had received two or fewer runs in his previous eight starts and the Indians were averaging just 2.95 runs per nine innings for him, the worst support in the AL and fourth-lowest in the majors.
He was grateful for the runs, but was just as pleased for his teammates.
''It's nice for them, too,'' he said. ''It makes them feel good. I think sometimes they wear themselves out when they're not scoring as many runs for me or anybody. It's nice to have a game where we score quite a few and win it easily.''
After letting Arroyo off the hook in the first three innings, the Indians tagged him for five runs in the fourth as Damon and Cabrera homered.
Damon, who came in batting just .190 but has been making contributions on and off the field, connected for his third homer to make it 2-0.
Casey Kotchman singled with one out before the 38-year-old Damon drove a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right. Damon, who missed all of spring camp before signing with the Indians on April 17, has been showing signs of busting out of a prolonged slump. He's batting .295 (13 for 44) in his past 16 games.
Chisenhall walked for the first time in 57 at-bats this season, and Choo drew a two-out walk to bring up Cabrera, whose two-run, walk-off homer against closer Aroldis Chapman won Tuesday's game. Cabrera fell behind 0-2 before hitting his eighth homer, a shot over the wall in right-center.
''I didn't have any bite on the breaking ball on the Damon home run,'' Arroyo said. ''I totally missed my spot with Cabrera. You can't miss your spot by that far and not expect to get hurt.''
Notes: Votto has hit safely in nine straight games and 24 of 25. In that span, he's batting .484 (44 of 91) with six homers and 17 RBIs. ... Reds 2B Brandon Phillips' hopes of being credited with an inside-the-park homer were denied by Major League Baseball. Phillips had appealed a ruling in Monday's game, when he was given an RBI double on a ball that skipped past left fielder Damon, who was charged with a two-base error. ... Phillips went 0 for 3 but is hitting .352 (57 of 162) with nine homers and 31 RBIs in 41 games against the Indians, who traded him to the Reds in 2006.