The Cleveland Indians closed out what started out as a disappointing road trip with a 6-2 win over Baltimore on Sunday, giving the Tribe three wins in the four-game series against Baltimore.
Justin Masterson went seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned), five hits and striking out seven to pick up the win. He took a perfect game into the fifth inning, which was broken up when Adam Jones reached on an error by shortstop Jason Donald to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Ryan Flaherty broke up the no-hitter with a bloop single with two outs in the fifth.
The win was Masterson's first road victory since May 3 and, since the start of June, the Tribe's No. 1 starter is 3-3 with an ERA of 1.93.
Vinnie Pestano pitched the eighth, striking out two, and Chris Perez duplicating the effort in the ninth.
After getting 16 hits on Friday night and 19 on Sunday, the Tribe "cooled off" on Sunday, only totaling 11 hits. Cleveland totaled 55 hits in the four games, including eight for extra bases in Sunday's finale. Included in that number is nine hits for the series from All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and seven hits from catcher Lou Marson.
Shelley Duncan got the Tribe on the board in the top of the second inning with a solo home run. Aaron Cunningham, perhaps realizing he needs to do something if he hopes another team picks him up when the Indians inevitably designate him for assignment (please?) added a solo home run of his own in the top of the third. Cunningham went 1-for-4 on the day to raised his average on the season to .171.
The Indians added three more in the fourth on RBI doubles by Duncan and Casey Kotchman, and a sacrifice fly by Lou Marson. That made the score five-nil and, with the way Masterson was pitching, was more than enough for the Tribe on the day.
It's a good thing that Masterson was on top of his game as the Tribe failed on multiple scoring chances. The Indians put two on with no one out in both the fifth and eight innings, and had two on with one out in the sixth, and failed to score a run each time.
Having said that, the Indians spent three consecutive days just working over Baltimore's starting pitching. In the final three games of the series, Sunday's starter, Brian Matusz, was the only one who made it past the fourth inning, and he allowed five runs, four earned, seven hits and three walks, leaving without recording an out in the fifth inning.
In the past three games, the Orioles' starters gave up 16 runs in just 14 innings of work as the Tribe, which came into the series 5-16 against left-handed starters, beat three left-handers Wei-Yin Chen, Dana Eveland and Matusz. The Indians came into the series hitting .216 against lefties, but hit .327 over the weekend against Baltimore's three lefty starters.
Sunday also marked Jim Thome's debut with Baltimore and we have to say, despite Thome playing with several teams now, he looked really odd in an Oriole uniform.
The win pulls the Indians to 40-38 on the year and, more importantly, pulls the Tribe to just 1.5 games behind the White Sox, who lost for the second day in a row to the Yankees. The Indians now come home for seven games (three with the Angels and four with Tampa) before the All-Star break.
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