The Indians broke out of their two-game funk in a big way tonight, while at the same time extending Baltimore’s misery to five games, as Cleveland rode seven innings of one-run ball from Justin Masterson, a homer from Travis Hafner and four RBI from Asdrubal Cabrera to cruise at Progressive Field, 8-2, in the opener of a three-game weekend series.
Masterson moved to 3-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.33, surrendering four hits — three of them in the fourth inning — and a walk to go with three strikeouts to take over the team lead in victories.
Cleveland scored four in the third off of Zach Britton; plenty enough to send Britton (2-1, 2.75) to his first major league loss.
Lou Marson drove in Matt LaPorta, who had led off with a triple, to score the first run of the game. Asdrubal Cabrera plated two more runs with a bases-loaded single, and Travis Hafner sent the fourth run in the inning home with a sac fly.
Baltimore bunched three hits together in the fourth and scored on a single from Luke Scott to make it 4-1.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth, when Hafner slugged his third round-tripper of the season to right-center. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, the Indians put the game away with three more runs.
Matt LaPorta ignited this rally as well with a lead-off single off of Baltimore reliever Josh Rupe. Lou Marson grounded into a fielder’s choice, but then Adam Everett singled, Michael Brantley walked, and the bases were loaded for Droobs, who came through again with a two-run single to make it 7-1. Shin-Soo Choo then sent home the final run of the game for the Tribe with a double, and it was all over except for getting through the final six outs.
Rafael Perez came on for the Tribe in the eighth, ending Masterson’s night after 90 pitches. Perez allowed a lead-off single but got a twin-killing with one out to end the inning, keeping his ERA at 0.00 on the season.
Joe Smith made his first appearance of the season after replacing Frank Herrmann on the roster. In a shaky ninth, Smith gave up three hits and hit a batter, and surrendered an RBI single to Mark Reynolds, but Smith was able to close the game with a strikeout, and the Indians found themselves at 9-4, and a half-game ahead of the Royals, pending the result of Kansas City’s game against Seattle in K.C.
The Tribe will be right back at it tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 with Josh Tomlin looking to join Masterson at 3-0 against the Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie.