August 21, 2014

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Justin Masterson’s dominance ensures Indians come away with split against Yankees

CLEVELAND — One brilliant pitching performance did not deserve another for the Indians on Monday at Progressive Field.

A sparkling outing from ace Justin Masterson led Cleveland to a 1-0 victory in the opening game of a doubleheader against the Yankees. The celebration was short-lived, however, as pitching presented a problem in a 7-0 loss in Game 2.

It all added up to a break-even day for the Indians, who entered the day in a first-place tie with Detroit atop the Central Division standings and riding momentum from 12 wins in 14 games.

More photos below.

Not that the Indians’ offense had much to brag about. Jason Kipnis hit a home run in the first inning of Game 1 to provide the Tribe’s lone run of the day.

“We had Kipnis’ home run, really, to show for the whole day, and we got a split,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, whose club managed just 10 hits all day. “Some days are tough. It was a mixed bag today.”

Cleveland returned from a series-clinching win Sunday in Detroit to open the makeup doubleheader less than 24 hours later.

“Add another win to the column,” Nick Swisher said. “I mean three games in 36 hours, win two out of those three. I don’t feel bad about that. We were a little tired today. It showed. But to be able to come out of that with a split, we’ve got to be happy about that. We were dragging a little bit. Sometimes that’s going to happen.”

After the Kipnis homer, Masterson (6-2, 3.14 ERA) went it alone in the opener. In working his second 1-0 shutout of the season, the right-hander allowed just four hits, walked three and struck out nine.

“Masty went out and did exactly what you want your ace to do,” Francona said. “They loaded up with their lefties and from the very first pitch of the game, he had power, he had a breaking ball, he attacked hitters. There was no wiggle room cause we had one run, and he made it stand.”

“I think that’s what every guy that starts a doubleheader wants to do, just to keep the bullpen out of it so we can be fresh for Game 2,” Masterson said. “Every starter wants to finish the game.”

Masterson, who allowed just two hits over his last seven innings — one on an infield single — became the first Cleveland pitcher to post multiple 1-0 shutouts since Bud Black and Greg Swindell in 1989.

“I get a big kick out of watching him,” Francona said. “I think he enjoys what he’s doing. I catch myself smiling at him as he comes off the mound and I have to remember that he’s pitching a game. I can’t believe he’s doing what he’s doing, and he’s doing it well.”

Pitching wasn’t at a premium for the Indians in the second game as the Yankees broke the game open with a six-run seventh inning that began with prized pitching prospect Trevor Bauer still on the mound.

Bauer was responsible for two of the runs, allowing doubles to Corban Joseph and Austin Romine before being replaced by left-hander Nick Hagadone, who allowed four runs and failed to get out of the inning.

Bauer (1-2, 2.76) was back for his third spot start with the Indians, getting added to the roster as the extra player for the doubleheader. He is expected to return to Triple-A Columbus, but has made strides since his debut April 6 at Tampa Bay.

“You know what, he keeps them off the scoreboard,” Francona said of the right-hander, who allowed two earned runs on six hits over 6⅓ innings. “There’s so much to like about him. He’s still developing, but coming up like he does isn’t the easiest thing to do, and he gives us a chance to win every time he pitches.”

Bauer walked two, but his command was much improved from his first two outings.

“There’s a lot to take from it,” Bauer said. “I can be a lot better than I was today, and I was a lot better today than I have been this year. We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

New York got quality pitching all day, especially from left-hander Vidal Nuno, a former Indians draft pick who tossed five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits in the Yankees’ Game 2 win.

“I’ve never seen him before, man, but he went out there and put it on us,” Swisher said. “Next time around, we’ll remember that.”

Tonight

  • WHO: Cleveland vs. Philadelphia
  • TIME: 7:05
  • WHERE: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
  • PITCHERS: Kazmir (2-1, 4.87 ERA) vs. Pettibone (2-0, 3.63)
  • TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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