Justin Masterson allowed one run on four hits in eight innings to win for the first time since April, as the Indians finally gave Masterson (6-6, 2.85 ERA) some support in knocking Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 5.49 ERA) from the game early, and Cleveland went on to beat the Cincinnati Reds for the fourth straight time this season, taking the opener of their three-game series in Cincinnati, 8-2
The Indians wasted little time jumping ahead in this one, which must have felt odd for Masterson after having watched the offense struggle in so many of his starts since April.
In the second inning, with one out, Grady Sizemore belted his eighth homer of the season and the Indians were ahead 1-0. Then, in the third, the Tribe tacked on three more.
Masterson led off with a single, but two ground outs followed before Asdrubal Cabrera went deep to right for his 14th homer, scoring Orlando Cabrera and making it 3-0. The following hitter, Carlos Santana, also reached the right-field seats, collecting homer number 12, and the Indians, on back-to-back jacks, led 4-0.
Cincinnati got one run back in the bottom of the fourth when Brandon Phillips led off with his seventh long-ball of the season, Cleveland broke the game open in the fifth.
With one out, Michael Brantley and Orlando Cabrera singled. After a pop out to shallow right for the second out, Santana singled, scoring Brantley and making it 5-1. Then Sizemore doubled to right, scoring O. Cabrera and putting the Tribe up by five.
Bronson Arroyo left the game, and Travis Buck greeted reliever Sam LeCure with a two-run single to left, and the lead had expanded to 8-1. Buck then left the game with an apparent injured leg, and was replaced by Austin Kearns.
Masterson kept cruising along, even with the large lead, not allowing another hit after Phillips' homer.
See what a guy can do when you get him some runs?
The Indians ended up with 12 hits, including two each from Orlando Cabrera, Santana, Sizemore and Buck, while the latter three players were joined by Asdrubal Cabrera, all with two RBI.
Chad Durbin relieved Masterson in the ninth after Justin had dealt 102 pitches. Durbin allowed Phillips' second homer of the game, but that was all she wrote for Cincinnati, as the Tribe wrapped up their second straight win.
Chris Perez will not be available until Sunday at the earliest, as he has been placed on the bereavement list to attend the funeral of his grandmother. Josh Judy was called up from Columbus to take Perez's place, and if a save situation presents itself, either Tony Sipp or Vinnie Pestano would close.
With the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Detroit, the Indians move back into first place in the Central Division by a half-game, with the Chicago White Sox 3.5 games back after their win over the Cubs earlier.