Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-out, two-run single in the top of the 8th inning proved to be the difference in the Tribe’s 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on a blustery night in the Windy City.
The Indians bats were silent most of the night after a dominant start by Chicago starter Dylan Axelrod, who went six innings, allowing only one run while striking out four. However, things got rolling in the eighth with one out on an infield single by Drew Stubbs that was misplayed by Chicago third baseman Conor Gillaspie. After a Michael Brantley walk, Chicago reliever Matt Thornton’s attempted pickoff of Stubbs at second base went into center field, allowing both runners to move into scoring position for Cabrera’s two-out hit.
Just a half inning prior, the Indians took advantage of the White Sox misfortunes on the basepaths. With runners on first and second and nobody out, Carlos Santana picked off pinch runner Blake Tekotte on second base after Tekotte jumped off the bag on a failed bunt play. On the ensuing pitch, Masterson was able to force the 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning unscathed. Tekotte running for injured catcher Hector Gimenez, whose ailment led to the insertion of Tyler Flowers, a defensive albatross behind the plate who might have led the White Sox to downfall in the 8th.
For the Tribe offensively, little of anything surfaced apart from Lonnie Chisenhall’s RBI double in the second inning that took a weird hop away from Chicago leftfielder Alejandro De Aza. Axelrod used his breaking pitches heavily and despite getting good pitches to hit, the Indians were only able to muster three hits off Axelrod.
Masterson pitched a beautiful seven innings of baseball, allowing only two earned runs while striking out five behind his dominant slider that was examined by IPL’s Ryan McCrystal. The only mishaps Masterson ran into were Conor Gillaspie’s solo home run in the second and Hector Gimenez’s (first career) RBI double in the fourth. Vinnie Pestano pitched a perfect eighth inning and Chris Perez locked down his third save of the season after almost ceding a walk-off home run to Alexei Ramirez.
The White Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games, and have averaged a meek three runs/game over that stretch. The Indians are the winners of three straight after coming off a five game losing streak.
The Indians play Tuesday at 8:10 pm with righty Zach McAllister (1-2, 3.12 ERA) toeing the hill against Tribe killer Jose Quintana (1-0, 2.55 ERA).
W – Justin Masterson (4-1)
L – Matt Thornton (0-1)
S – Chris Perez (3)