Justin Masterson allowed two home runs in the seventh inning that foiled the Indians’ night as they went on to lose 6-3.
Masterson had been solid through the first six innings, having only allowed one run on a J.J Hardy fielder’s choice. Up to the seventh inning, Masterson had allowed three hits, no walks and had struck out seven. Masterson retired the first 12 batters of the game as well, and he was poised to go deep into the game, one of the few Indians’ pitchers capable of that.
However, things got messy in the seventh. After striking Adam Jones with a pitch, Chris Davis launched his league-leading 28th home run to deep right field. The 434-foot bomb was Davis’ third longest home run of the season, and it tied the game at 3-3.
At this point, as seems to be the case with Masterson, he was rattled. He went on to walk Matt Wieters, and after a J.J Hardy line out, he allowed a single to Chris Dickerson. After a wild pitch that put runners on second and third, Alexi Casilla sent an off-speed pitch barely into the right field seats for his first home run of the season, and the 12th home run of his 7+ year career. What makes the Casilla home run even more overwhelming is that Casilla had been averaging a home run every 167.8 plate appearances going into that at-bat against Masterson. However, Masterson let his slider hang up in the zone and Casilla sent in to the second row.
Offensively, the Indians did an average job against Orioles starter Chris Tillman. Tillman went seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits while walking four and striking out six. Michael Brantley got things started in the first with a sacrifice fly that scored Mike Aviles. However, the Indians had the bases loaded in the first inning with one out and were only able to produce one run on a sac fly. Overall, the Tribe left seven runners on base.
Jason Kipnis continued his hot tear by hitting a two-run home run to deep left in the 5th inning that put the Indians ahead 3-0. In the month of June, Kipnis has hit .408 (31-76) with 2 home runs and 17 RBI. His OPS in June is 1.132, which is an insanely high figure. Kipnis finished 2-2 with two walks and two RBI.
However, after the fifth inning, the Indians failed to score another run. The Indians had a base runner with no outs in both the fifth and eighth inning, but Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall both hit into double plays to kill the scoring opportunity. With Jim Johnson closing in the ninth, the Indians had runners at third and second with two outs but Michael Bourn struck out swinging to end the ball game.
The Indians (39-37) have won nine of 13, and are expecting the return of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as early as Wednesday. The Indians face the Orioles in the third game of their four game series on Wednesday at 7:05 pm EST. Scott Kazmir will toe the hill against Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel.
W – Chris Tillman (9-2)
L – Justin Masterson (9-6)
S – Jim Johnson (27-30)