How Sweep It Is: Indians break out the brooms, defeat Angels 3-1
Masterson, Tribe win third straight over Halos inching closer to wild card
LOS ANGELES—Even the bright sun of Tinseltown couldn't out shine the blazing Tribe.
A two-run homer by Nick Swisher and another quality start from ace Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.50 ERA) was more than enough against the last place Angles, as the Indians defeated the Halos 3-1 to sweep the three-game series.
Coming off a 14-inning win late Tuesday night, manager Terry Francona needed Masterson to eat up a bulk of the game in the rubber match Wednesday. He wasn’t as sharp as he can be, but Masty did just that. The 6-foot-6 right-hander gave up just the one run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven for his team leading 14th victory of the season.
While he did yield five walks in the ballgame and threw 59 of his 110 pitches for strikes, Masterson pitched at least six innings for the 24th time in his 27 starts.
The win already gives Cleveland (69-58) one more win then they had all of last season as the team moves to just 2 1/2 games in back of Oakland for the final American League wild card spot.
Offensively, the Tribe got the bats rolling in the third off Angels starter Jerome Williams (5-10, 4.80 ERA). Michael Bourn lead off the inning with a triple down the right-field line before Swisher slammed a hanging sinker to the seats in center for his 16th homer of the season.
Giving the Indians a 2-0 lead, the two-run blast also extended Swisher’s hitting streak to seven straight. After staying relatively cold at the plate, Swish has started to heat up hitting .303 (10-for-33) with three homers and six RBI over his last seven games.
It was the only mistake of the game for Williams, who gave up just the two runs on six hits through 6 2/3 innings.
Cruising through the first five innings, Masterson shut down the dismal Halos offense to just two hits before surrendering a run in the sixth. After designated hitter Josh Hamilton singled to lead off the inning, catcher Hank Conger cut the Tribe lead to one on a RBI double down the right-field line.
Going 2-for-3 in the ballgame, Conger came up big for L.A. without two of their best bats in the lineup, finishing the series hitting .500 (4-for-8) against Indians pitching with a RBI.
Having already lost three-time N.L. MVP Albert Pujols for the rest of the season, the Angels were also without 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year Mike Trout for the second-straight game, who nursing a right hamstring injury.
The run was just Anaheim’s first over their last 18 innings of play.
The controversial Indians closer needs just 20 more saves to tie former Tribe ninth inning man Bob Wickman for the franchise career saves record. Wickman set the record back in 2006, recording 139 saves over his six seasons wearing Chief Wahoo.
The three runs on eight hits were enough to sweep the Angles in La-La Land for the first time since 1999. While starting pitching has continued to be one of the team’s assets, Tribe relievers came up huge in the final two games of the series, striking out 18 in 11 scoreless innings.
Notes: Cleveland were able to sweep Los Angeles even with Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley going a combined 0-for-28 at the plate in the three-game series….Bourn collected three hits in a game Wednesday for the 13th time this season....With a double in the second inning, Jason Giambi needs just two more hits to reach 2,000 for his career.
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