Indians win over Reds 5-2, grab much needed victory
Giambi comes through in the clutch to give Cleveland the win
Sometimes there’s really is no place like home.
After an ugly six-game road trip that saw the Indians drop five of their last six, Cleveland got a much needed win Wednesday night in Tribe Town, defeating Cincinnati 5-2. The victory ends the Tribe’s five game losing streak, moving the team just 1.5 games in back of the first place Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division.
Having scored just four runs in two losses through the first two games of the series against the Reds in Cincinnati, Cleveland (28-24) banged out five runs on nine hits for their first win against their state rivals in 2013.
“We needed this,” Tribe starter Justin Masterson said. “We needed to have a victory. We’ve been playing good baseball, but it just hasn’t been working out for us, so tonight was just a good job by everyone.”
Like he has done all season long, Masterson (8-3, 3.07 ERA) was dominant through six strong innings of work. The Indians ace gave up just one run on four hits, walking four and striking out seven, a good enough outing for his major league-leading eighth victory of the season.
“It’s all on Masty,” Tribe designated hitter Jason Giambi said. “He changed the whole momentum of the game. He came up big for us, especially the way we’ve been losing some of these games in this stretch. That’s why he’s our big horse. He’s done it all year for us.”
Masterson also continued his dominance at Progressive Field, as he is now 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in seven starts at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
The right-hander made only one mistake on the night in the very first inning. Coming into the ballgame just 2-for-13 (.154) in his career against Masterson, Reds first baseman Joey Votto ripped a solo homer to center to put Cincy up 1-0 early.
For Votto, his 10th home run extended his road hitting streak to a career-high 18 games.
Cleveland bats went quiet against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo until the third inning, courtesy of third baseman Mark Reynolds. The right-handed slugger blasted a solo homer of his own to the bleachers for his 13th homer of the season, tying the game at one.
It was the Reynolds’ first homer since May 18 against Seattle. Hitting in the seventh spot in the lineup this year, the third baseman is now batting .265 (18-for-68) with seven homers and 20 RBI.
It wasn’t until the sixth that Cleveland put the game away for good on the bat of 42-year old Jason Giambi. The Giambino belted a two-out three-run homer to the seats in right field for his fourth long ball of the season, giving the Tribe a 5-1 lead.
“He understands at this point of his career we’re not going to run him out there every day, but the way we’re situated it fits perfect,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Giambi. “He still has that presence when he’s in the batter’s box, and tonight was a perfect example of that with how many pitches he saw and the damage he did.”
The Tribe designated hitter went 2-for-4 in the game with a double, the three-run blast and three RBI. Since breaking his 0-for-24 streak at the plate Monday on a game-tying 467 foot blast in Cincy, Giambi is 3-for-5 in his last two games with a double, two homers and four RBI.
While he maybe only hitting .185 on the season, the 42-year old Giambi brings much more than his bat to a young ballclub.
“You can’t say enough about him,” Masterson said. “It’s hard for anyone to truly understand outside this clubhouse just how great we enjoy him. He’s such a great impact to us, I think it’s even better for us to see him do well. As a team it just pumps us up when he does anything great for us.”
With his three-run blast coming with runners on first and third, Giambi improves his average to .412 (7-for-17) with two homers and 14 RBI with runners in scoring position.
“There’s no greater feeling in the world than being able to help contribute and help the ballclub out,” Giambi said. "It’s exciting, that’s what brings me back. Sometimes I wish I was still 25 or 26 years old and unfortunately I’m not, as you can tell with my base running tonight."
In the fourth inning, the left-handed slugger was thrown out being a little too aggressive trying to steal third base. All in all, Giambi is a true gamer, and one of the best leaders a ballclub can ask for.
“I’m just trying to help the ballclub win, that’s the most important thing,” Giambi said. "When you’re playing tough games, it’s hard not to live in the past. You just want to concentrate on right here right now, and that’s the message we keep trying to send to the younger players.”
Tribe relievers Cody Allen and Joe Smith each pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth. Newly-named closer Vinnie Pestano gave up a solo home run to Reds outfielder Xavier Paul before closing the door to end the ballgame in the ninth.
Having dropped seven of their last eight prior to Wednesday’s victory, the Indians still know there’s plenty of tough matchups looming on the schedule.
“What’s great about this team is that there is no fear,” Masterson said. “We weren’t getting down on ourselves when we were losing ballgames. What we enjoy about this team we have so many guys that have done it before, they know what they need to do. Any downward trend we’re going to have, there’s also going to be an upward trend just as big if not better.”
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.