CLEVELAND – Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta knows how to end a losing streak.
“Power pitching and a three-run home run will always get it done,” said Acta. “It feels good.”
Nearly two weeks after their last win, the Indians Saturday night finally won another one, thanks to the pitching of Justin Masterson and the hitting of Michael Brantley.
Brantley’s three-run home run in the first inning stood up the rest of the way as Cleveland beat the New York Yankees 3-1, snapping the Indians’ nine-game losing streak. It’s the third 3-1 game in a row for the Indians, but this time they were on the winning side. It was Cleveland’s first win in five games vs. New York this season.
The Indians were held scoreless on three hits after the first inning, but their pitching was good enough to produce the team’s first win since Aug. 13.
Masterson (10-11) pitched into the seventh inning, allowing one run on seven hits, to get the win.
“He’s our go-to guy in tough times,” said Acta of Masterson. “He was on top of hitters and economical with his pitches.”
Closer Chris Perez, who hasn’t seen much action during the Indians 11-game and nine-game losing streaks since the All-Star break, pitched the ninth inning to pick up his 33rd save.
Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched a four-hit complete game, but all he has to show for it was a loss, dropping his record to 12-9.
Kuroda’s only bad inning was the first, and the only hit he allowed in that inning was the home run by Brantley.
“He made one mistake with his fastball to Brantley. He left it down the middle and it got hit out,” said Yankee Manager Joe Girardi.
That 3-0 lead lasted until the sixth inning when the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs against Masterson, but scored just one run, on a sacrifice fly by Mark Teixeira that cut the lead to 3-1.
The Yankees loaded the bases again in the seventh inning, but reliever Vinnie Pestano came in to get Teixeira on a pop out to end that inning.
Perez retired the side in order in the ninth.
Kuroda came into the game with a 1.39 ERA in his last seven starts and a 0.53 ERA in his last two starts.
“He’s been pitching so good,” said Acta. “Nothing’s straight. He throws that two-seam fastball that comes back over the plate to left-handers.”
In the first inning Kuroda started the rally by hitting leadoff hitter Jason Kipnis with a 1-2 pitch. One out later, Shin-Soo Choo drew a walk. Kuroda struck out Carlos Santana on a 3-2 pitch, but the next hitter, Brantley, hit Kuroda’s first pitch into the seats in right-center field for his sixth home run, giving Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
Masterson was masterful through the early innings, holding New York scoreless and hitless through the first 3 2/3 innings.
“His fastball’s got so much movement. They were diving all over the place,” said Girardi.
Robinson Cano finally got New York’s first hit, a double into the left field corner, but Masterson and the Indians still led 3-0 through the fifth inning.
NOTES: Indians manager Manny Acta said the team is considering possibly going with a six-man starting rotation when major league rosters can be expanded in September. … The Indians have seven players with 10 or more home runs. That ties them for the second most in the majors, behind the Yankees who lead the majors with 10 such players. … Yankee Manager Joe Girardi said he expects Andy Pettitte to be able to pitch in a game before the end of the season. Pettitte, on the DL with a fractured left ankle, threw off flat ground on Saturday. … The Yankees entered the game with a major league high 194 home runs, the most they’ve ever had through 125 games, and the seventh-highest total for any major league team in their first 125 games. … Robinson Cano had two hits in the game. His .345 career batting average vs. Cleveland is his highest average against any AL opponent.
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