|Masterson, Brantley lead Indians past Twins 7-1|
|Sunday, July 21, 2013 11:48 PM|
MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Masterson had no regrets about the pitch that cost him his chance at a no-hitter.
Masterson took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, Michael Brantley hit a bases-loaded triple and the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 7-1 on Sunday to avoid a 3-game sweep.
Masterson (11-7) had faced the minimum through six, allowing only a hit batter, when Brian Dozier led off the seventh with a broken-bat blooper to center field that dunked in under the glove of a sliding Drew Stubbs for a double.
That not only ended Masterson’s attempt at making history, it briefly halted what had been a quick, decisive trip through the Twins’ lineup. Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana immediately went to the mound to check on the big right-hander.
“He said, ‘Maybe we should have started him off with a slider.’ I said, ‘No, we wanted to challenge guys’,” Masterson recalled. “That’s what we do. I don’t care if we have no hits or 100 hits, you still have to challenge guys.
“Broken bat? That’s what you want. It falls in but in my mind I get so many balls put in play I’m like, something’s going to happen. There’s going to be a hit sometime. So let’s just make sure when it does happen, we stay in our game and make sure it doesn’t have a trickle-down effect.”
Besides, by then the Indians were leading 6-0.
“I thought what he did was good enough,” manager Terry Francona said.
The Indians led 3-0 on Mike Aviles’ sacrifice fly and 2-run homer by Jason Kipnis when they loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on a walk to Kipnis and consecutive singles by Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana off starter Scott Diamond (5-9).
With right-hander Anthony Swarzak warming in the bullpen, acting manager Terry Steinbach — in charge because Ron Gardenhire had the flu — visited Diamond on the mound. Diamond got Mark Reynolds to pop out to first for the second out but Brantley hit a liner to the wall in right-center for a standup triple that cleared the bases and ended Diamond’s day.
The Indians hit Diamond hard even when making outs — 11 of the balls they put in play were solid line drives. That included Kipnis’ homer, which bounced off the top of the wall in left for his second opposite-field shot in two days.
Diamond, the Twins’ best starter last season as a rookie (12-9, 3.59 ERA), gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits and three walks as the left-hander lost his third straight decision. He hasn’t won since beating the Chicago White Sox on June 20, and his ERA rose to 5.53.
The Twins scored when Dozier came in from third on Joe Mauer’s 1-out grounder to second that was bobbled by Kipnis for an error, his second in two days. But the first-time All-Star also homered for the second time in two days.
Masterson, who hadn’t pitched since a no-decision against Toronto on July 10, finished the seventh before being pulled after 91 pitches for right-hander C.C. Lee. Masterson, also selected to his first All-Star team this year, was charged with an earned run on one hit and struck out eight in his first victory since June 30 against the White Sox. He lowered his ERA to 3.60 with his 13th quality start of the season.
Masterson plunked Aaron Hicks in the elbow in the third inning but Hicks was thrown out attempting to steal for the second out and Pedro Florimon grounded out to end the inning.
That was as much as the Twins could muster against Masterson until the seventh, when Dozier looped the first pitch into shallow center.
NOTES: Indians RHP Corey Kluber could have his next start pushed back a day after leaving Saturday night’s 3-2 loss after five innings because of a hip injury. Kluber announced Sunday his left hamstring tightened up on him during the game and was sore but didn’t anticipate missing his next scheduled bullpen session today.
ATHLETICS 6, ANGELS 0
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Bartolo Colon pitched a 4-hitter for his third shutout this season and centerfielder Coco Crisp robbed Albert Pujols of a home run to help the Oakland Athletics beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-0 on Sunday.
Eric Sogard hit a 2-run homer to back Colon (13-3), who struck out five and walked one. The 40-year-old right-hander, making his first start since returning from his third All-Star game, tied Max Scherzer and Adam Wainwright for the major league lead in wins while reducing his ERA to 2.52. Colon is 10-1 with a 1.46 ERA over his last 12 outings.
The 116-pitch complete game was Colon’s 35th in 395 big-league starts and the shutout was the 12th of his career. Crisp preserved Oakland’s ninth shutout of the year when he pulled back Pujols’ bid for his 492nd homer leading off the seventh.
TIGERS 4, ROYALS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Miguel Cabrera and Andy Dirks homered as the Tigers beat the Royals to avoid being swept.
Doug Fister (8-5) picked up the victory with six strong innings, yielding a run, while allowing six hits and striking out five and walking one.
Cabrera, who is second in the league with 31 home runs to Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, drove a 1-1 pitch out to left in the first inning.
Miguel Tejada tied it in the second with his third home run of the season and the 307th of his career. Tejada took an 0-1 Fister pitch out to left.
Dirks broke the tie with a home run with one out in the fifth to straightaway center, just eluding Jarrod Dyson’s leap at the wall.
James Shields (4-7), who has won only one out of 10 home starts, took the loss.
RAYS 4, BLUE JAYS 3
TORONTO — Luke Scott and Kelly Johnson hit back-to-back home runs, Evan Longoria also went deep and the Rays survived a late scare to beat the Blue Jays, completing a 3-game sweep.
The surging Rays have won 13 of their past 14 games and 20 of their past 24. After starting the season 14-18, Tampa Bay is a major league-best 44-23 since May 8.
Rays right-hander Chris Archer pitched seven innings to win his fourth straight decision, improving to 4-0 with an 1.62 ERA in his past six starts.
Archer (5-3) allowed five hits, walked four and struck out one.
R.A. Dickey (8-11) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, walked one and struck out eight. He gave up three home runs for the third time this season.
MARINERS 12, ASTROS 5
HOUSTON — Nick Franklin hit his first career grand slam in Seattle’s big second inning to back up a scoreless start by Felix Hernandez and the Mariners rolled past the Astros for their season-best sixth straight victory.
Franklin’s slam, Seattle’s fifth this season, came off Jordan Lyles (4-4) in a 7-run second.
Hernandez (11-4) scattered four hits with seven strikeouts over six innings to lower his AL-leading ERA to 2.43. He is 6-0 in his last 10 starts and hasn’t lost since May 25.
Brad Miller, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders drove in two runs each to help the Mariners wrap up a 3-game sweep.
Lyles yielded eight hits and 10 runs, with a career-high nine earned, in 4-plus innings.
WHITE SOX 3, BRAVES 1
CHICAGO — Leftfielder Casper Wells robbed Reed Johnson of a home run in the eighth inning to help the White Sox beat the Braves.
With the White Sox leading 3-1, Wells leaped up against the left-field wall to make a spectacular catch and rob Johnson of the game-tying homer. It was one of several great defensive plays by the White Sox.
Alex Rios added two hits and an RBI for Chicago and Jose Quintana scattered nine hits in 5 2/3 innings for the win.
White Sox relievers Ramon Troncoso and Donnie Veal each retired the two batter they faced and Nate Jones pitched a scoreless eighth. Closer Addison Reed pitched scoreless ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances.
Braves starter Mike Minor (9-5) pitched his first career complete game in the loss.