Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/15/13
Ubaldo Jimenez in the absence of Justin Masterson continued to do a great impersonation of a No.1 starter Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Jimenez pitched into the ninth inning as the Indians beat Chicago 8-1 to stay within 1 1/2 games of Tampa Bay and the second wild card spot. It was the Tribe's 11th straight win against Chicago and its 14th in the season series. They took control of the game of the game with a five-run fourth inning. Jimenez (12-9 3.49) took it from there as he won his third straight start and earned his first victory over the season against the White Sox. The best case scenario involving Masterson and his strained left oblique muscle is that he makes it back in time to make one more start during the regular season. That means the Indians' stretch drive rests squarely on Jimenez's shoulders. Right now that's a good place to be. "With Justin out I think that's the way every pitcher in the clubhouse has to think " said Jimenez who struck out eight and pitched a season-high 8 1/3 innings. "He's been the guy for us to go out and compete and give us a chance to win every day. Now that's he's down we have to find a way to step." The White Sox who have lost 14 of their last 16 games never really challenged Jimenez. Their biggest threat came in the third when Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien singled to start the inning. Jimenez responded by striking out Alejandro De Aza retiring Gordon Beckham on a fly ball to center and striking out Alexei Ramirez. Case closed. "I lost my mechanics in the third inning but I got them back" said Jimenez. Jimenez is 5-5 with a 1.82 ERA since the All-Star break. In his last five starts he's gone gone 3-2 while allowing six earned runs 32 hits and six walks with 42 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings. As manager Terry Francona likes to say "Ubaldo has found an extra gear." The Indians have not beaten a team 11 straight times according to Elias Sports Bureau since they took 13 straight from Detroit from May 14 1996 through May 3 1997. "I don't even think about that" said Francona. "Right now we've got to get ready for Chris Sale on Sunday. It's like what Detroit did to us. But everytime we played the Tigers I felt like we were going to beat them." Speaking of the Tigers they lost to Kansas City on Saturday night as the Indians drew to within five games of the AL Central leaders. Chicago starter Andre Rienzo held the Indians scoreless for three innings but he was walking a fine line. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first and got a break in the second when right fielder Avisail Garcia made a nice leaping catch against the fence to rob Jason Giambi of extra bases.
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