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)

12 Comments

  • Steve Alex says:

    The home runs are great, but it’s nice to see some run manufacturing too. We need to get all the wins when Masterson pitches a good game. We can’t afford to let any of those get away.

  • Edward Ennett says:

    In the immortal words of Lou Brown…”We win three games and that’s called a winning streak”

  • Dalek says:

    Yes, he got the win, but I don’t know if I’m comfortable calling Masterson’s start beautiful. For the majority of the game his pitches were, more often than not, erratic and inconsistent. He hurled three steller starts in this young season, but ever since the BoSox knocked him around last week, Masty has been less nasty.

    Perhaps it’s just a case of Cleveland-fantinitis (an extremely contageous disease that feeds off Cleveland fans’ hopes and dreams, causing them to be chronically pessimistic and worrisome), but I’ve got an uneasy feeling about Masterson given these last two starts. I know it’s a small sample size, but I can’t help feeling anxious about Justin having another down year on top of the many other troubles of our rotation.

    But hey, he managed to pitch through his troubles and earned that W. My Cleveland-Fantinitis has subsided for at least another day or so. He’ll have to face off against the red-hot Royals this weekend, so here’s to hoping that the last two starts have been Masty’s exceptions and not his norm.

    • Swift says:

      I’m with you Dalek. I give Masterson credit for working hard to pitch through his troubles, which is what you want from your ace (and it saved the bullpen) but I would not call that beautiful.

  • Dalek says:

    Yes, he got the win, but I don’t know if I’m comfortable calling Masterson’s start beautiful. For the majority of the game his pitches were, more often than not, erratic and inconsistent. He hurled three steller starts in this young season, but ever since the BoSox knocked him around last week, Masty has been less nasty.

    Perhaps it’s just a case of Cleveland-Fantinitis (an extremely contageous disease that feeds off Cleveland fans’ hopes and dreams, causing them to be chronically pessimistic and worrisome), but I’ve got an uneasy feeling about Masterson given these last two starts. I know it’s a small sample size, but I can’t help feeling anxious about Justin having another down year on top of the many other troubles of our rotation.

    But hey, he managed to pitch through his troubles and earned that W. My Cleveland-Fantinitis has subsided for at least another day or so. He’ll have to face off against the red-hot Royals this weekend, so here’s to hoping that the last two starts have been Masty’s exceptions and not his norm.

  • Jeremy says:

    Masteron pitched well enough to win and got the W. That’s all that matters. I love seeing Stubbs on the base path. He’s a terror when he gets on so I’d love to see that more consistently. The D was amazing once again last night. But the biggest thing is A-Cab getting a clutch hit. He’s been in a funk (obviously) so hopefully this is exactly what he needed to see the ball better. Oh…and once again Smith, Pestano, and Perez were $. Let’s get 1 more, put the series in our back pocket and move onto a much improved KC ball club.

  • David White says:

    I see the struggles that Masterson goes through as subordinate to the main point that except for one or two mistakes, he kept the White Sox off the scoreboard and gave the Tribe enough to win the game. One thing that does frustrate me about Masterson is that he gives away at-bats and pitches to batters that he should be getting out with ease. Alas, that fades to the backburner as long as the end result is positive.

    Masterson ended with a Game Score of 62, Axelrod 64. Another thing that we may be falling into is nitpicking Masterson’s more average starts because of his potential for greatness. As I stated in my preseason predictions, I really think Masterson will be the most valuable player to this team and will make the All-Star team. His stuff is too good, and if he ever gets his command in place (4 walks last night were troublesome), he could become one of the very best pitchers in the MLB.

    • Dalek says:

      I don’t want you to think I was disagreeing with you. I agree wholeheartedly that in the end, the only thing that matters is that last night’s game is another tick mark in the win column. But, of his five starts, three were “ace” worthy and the other two weren’t as pretty. So yes, he got that win last night which he earned, but his control was noticeably worse than his ace-like starts. At least for me, that’s cause for some concern.

  • medfest says:

    I’d just like to point out that Francona put the play on that resulted in Greene getting picked off second in the seventh.That’s a veteran manager move.
    Masterson Santana and Cabrera executed it perfectly as well.
    Without that out and the ensuing double play grounder by De Aza,I don’t think the Tribe pulls this win out.

  • David White says:

    Was he quoted saying that? The way I saw it was that Ventura called the bunt, and the runner on second jumped and Santana threw him out. I could of coure be wrong, but that’s how I saw it.

    • medfest says:

      Nah, it’s a set play.Aggressive runner(he was a pinch runner) on second left handed batter at the plate(less likely to attempt a steal),right handed pitcher.
      Santana gets the sign from Francona and flashes it to Masterson and Cabrera(a clenched fist is the most common).
      Cabrera sets up toward second base a bit,about where he thinks the runners walking lead before the pitch will take him.
      Masterson purposely ignores the runner on second,hoping he will extend his lead an extra step or two(he does) and then throws a pitch about six inches outside to the batter,not quite a pitch out but really tough to bunt without stepping on the plate or lunging.
      Meanwhile Cabrera is slowly moving towards second so when Santana comes out of his crouch and whips the ball down to second he’s between the runner and the bag.Worked like a charm….at least that time.

      Santana took credit for calling the throw through in the Plain Dealer,not the set play as I described,he did that(at Francona’s instruction I’m sure) since you don’t want your opponents knowing all your tricks.

      It’s an oldie but a goodie and works more often than the “daylight play” that Thornton botched the very next inning.