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Bats go quiet against Dice-K as Mets pull away late with 2-1 win

Indians can't solve former teammate as New York avoids sweep

Bats go quiet against Dice-K as Mets pull away late with 2-1 win
September 8, 2013
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Cleveland, OH -- Daisuke Matsuzaka kept his former team quiet over five and and two-thirds innings and Chris Perez gave up a tie-breaking RBI-double in the ninth, as the New York Mets beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1 Sunday at Progressive Field.

After Matt den Dekker reached second following a single and a sacrifice bunt, Eric Young, Jr. doubled off Perez to deep right, making the score 2-1. Perez (5-3, 3.70) prevented further damage, but the Indians were unable to come back in the bottom of the ninth.

Cleveland entered the game trailing Tampa Bay by one game for the second wild card spot in the American League. The Indians were trying for their first five-game winning streak since a season-best eight-game run at the end of July, but its offense was shut down by five Mets pitchers, including former depth starter Matsuzaka.

"We took two of three in this series, you have to look at it that way," said reliever Joe Smith, who worked out a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. "We come back on the horse tomorrow. We need to take care of business when they come in."

Matsuzaka, who spent most of the season pitching for AAA Columbus, took a one-hit shutout into the sixth before being driven from the game on a liner that struck the pitcher in the chest. He retired the first two batters before Jason Kipnis singled and Carlos Santana walked to put runners at first and second. Jason Kubel followed with a line drive back to the mound that hit Matsuzaka, loading the bases.

Right-hander Vic Black came on in relief, but hit Asdrubal Cabrera in the right leg with his second pitch to force in a run and tie the game at one.

Matsuzaka had pitched poorly in his first three starts, posting an ERA over 10.00, since being signed last month. He was charged with one run in five and two-thirds innings, tempering speculation that he may be released by the team.

Danny Salazar was effective for the Tribe, but was pulled after making 80 pitches through four innings of work. The Indians are restricting the 23-year-old right-hander, who had Tommy John surgery in 2010. He has already pitched a career-high 130 innings this season.

"The good thing was that he was strong, but maybe he was too strong," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "He had a real hard time keeping the ball down today. Because of that his pitch count was high. He had a hard time working down today."

Justin Turner plated the only run against Salazar with a leadoff homer in the fourth, but the Indians starter shrugged off the blast to retire the next three batters. Over four innings, Salazar allowed four hits and two walks while striking out eight, including five in a row.

The Cleveland bullpen kept the team in the game, allowing just one run over five innings of work. The only run decided the game in the final inning.

The Mets bullpen matched the Tribe pitch-for-pitch, keeping the Indians lineup quiet. LaTroy Hawkins worked around a Jason Giambi hit in the ninth to pick up his eighth save of the season.

Giambi's single was the 2,000th of his career, but with one out, pinch-runner Mike Aviles was thrown out attempting to steal second. Aviles was ejected by umpire Gary Darling for arguing the call and Drew Stubbs struck out to end the game.

"It's something I'll always treasure, but I'd trade it for a win," Giambi said. "We needed to come back and tie it there."

Frank Francisco (1-0, 0.00) picked up his first win in his first appearance of the season.

The Indians still haven't caught on with fans, drawing only 13,317, as the Cleveland Browns opened their NFL schedule at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Cleveland will open a three-game series against fellow wild card contender Kansas City Monday at 7:05 p.m. Ubaldo Jimenez (10-9, 3.79) will face Ervin Santana (8-8, 3.33).

Notes:  Michael Brantley could return to the team Monday. His wife, Melissa, gave birth to the couple's first child Saturday.…Justin Masterson (strained left oblique) will likely accompany the team on a road trip that begins Thursday in Chicago.

Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English.  He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall.  Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.

User Comments

September 9, 2013 - 10:55 PM EDT
I value Tony's opinions not yours Matthew. PS -anyone who uses "ha ha" is a punk.
September 9, 2013 - 12:33 PM EDT
Haha. I really hope that was some beautiful satire, League Park. Certainly your needs as a fan outweigh his family's needs. Hilarious.

Also, Tony's right. Once you go on paternity leave, you're on it for 3 days.
September 9, 2013 - 12:09 PM EDT
League allows (mandates?) three days for players to be away for paternity leave. I don't believe once a player leaves for paternity leave that they are allowed to come back until the three days are complete. Plus, it's a life changing event and first child. Granted the games are important, it is hard to fault him for being there for the birth of his first child. Family comes first.
League Park
September 9, 2013 - 11:45 AM EDT
Unless there were complications, Brantley did not have to be away the weekend. These games are critical. He could have played Sunday. This is not April.
September 9, 2013 - 6:37 AM EDT
Getting shut down by this washed up stiff was pathetic. The front office needs to overhaul this offense in the off season. No excuse. Whatsoever ...dice whatever was pitching batting practice to the rest of the league

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