Second Thoughts: Game #126 Indians 3, Yankees 1
|W: J. Masterson (3-0) L: H. Kuroda (12-9) S: C. Perez (33)|
Player of the Game: Justin Masterson (6 2/3 innings 7 hits 1 ER 2 BB 6 SO)
The streak is finally over! The Indians would need just four hits against rival New York on Saturday night to snap their second nine game losing streak of the season, defeating the Yankees 3-1 picking up just their fifth victory in the month of August.
Tribe starter Justin Masterson became the first Cleveland starter with double-digit victories in 2012, giving his team another quality and dominant start. The Indians ace is now 3-1 with a 3.65 ERA over his last four starts.
The Top 5.
- Masterson dominant again. Cleveland needed another dominant performance from their ace on Saturday and he did nothing but deliver. Throwing 6 2/3 innings last night, Masterson is the first Tribe starter to pitch more than six innings in a ballgame since Zach McAllister did it back on August 11. And since June 18, Masterson has pitched in five of the Indians last nine victories.
- Brantley’s three-run blast. The first hit of the night was all the Indians would essentially need as Michael Brantley smashed a three run homer, his sixth of the season off Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda to give the Indians the lead for good.
- Grabbing the early lead. Brantley’s homer in the first inning gave the Tribe their first early lead in a game since August 20, and it was just the third time over the last three weeks that Cleveland scored first in a ballgame. While it may not always payoff, it is nice for Masterson and the Indians to play from ahead rather than always from behind.
- Bottom of the order. With Brantley driving in all three Indians runs on one swing last night, it was the bottom of the Indians lineup that would have the only other success in the ballgame. Hitters 7-thru-9 in Ezequiel Carrera, Jack Hannahan and Lou Marson provided the Tribe with their other three hits, going a combined 3-for-7 in the game each collecting a hit as well.
- Perez slams door. Chris Perez picked up his 33rd save of the season, his first since August 13 and just fourth of the month. The one time American League saves leader now ranks third in front of Yankees closer Rafael Soriano for the most saves in the A.L. this season.
The Bottom 3
- One hit wonder. Yes, the Indians defeated the Yankees, but four hits? That’s it? Granted it was a three-run homer that put the Tribe on top, but let’s not forget Kuroda hit Jason Kipnis on a 1-2 pitch who would later come around and score on Brantley’s blast.
- Top of the order. Hitters 1-thru-4 in the Indians lineup surprisingly went hitless against Kuroda last night. What usually is the cornerstone for the Tribe offense, leadoff man Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana combined to go 0-for-13 with five strikeouts in the ballgame.
- Marson picked off. After opening the bottom of the fifth inning with a leadoff double, Lou Marson was picked off second base by Yankees catcher Russell Martin. While Kipnis and Cabrera would later make outs for the Tribe after the play, it is never a good thing to take away runners in scoring position especially for a team that continues to struggle scoring runs.
With a Tribe victory Saturday night, Cleveland (55-71) moves just one game behind third place Kansas City Royals in the Central Division. The Indians will go for their first series win since taking the first of three games against the Los Angeles Angels on August 13.
Up next for the Indians: Cleveland will try and take the three-game series in the rubber match on Sunday, as it will be Ubaldo Jimenez (9-12, 5.59 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.96 ERA) at 1:05 pm. Jimenez last pitched against the Yankees back on June 27, where he gave up four earned runs on just four hits over six innings. Garcia is 1-0 against the Indians in 2012, throwing 3 1/3 perfect scoreless innings out of the bullpen when the Tribe faced the Yanks in New York during the last week of June.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.