Indians try to take set at Toronto

6:35 AM, Jul 14, 2012   |    comments
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It was all about pitching for the Cleveland Indians in last night's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Cleveland hopes history will repeat itself in Saturday's middle portion of a three-game series.

Indians starter Justin Masterson held the Blue Jays to five hits through seven scoreless innings in Friday's 1-0 win and also struck out five batters with only one walk. Vinnie Pestano struck out two in a perfect eighth inning and closer Chris Perez finished Toronto off with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 25th save.

"Masterson was impressive," said Indians manager Manny Acta of his starter. "He established his fastball the whole game. I thought he did a magnificent job."

Travis Hafner hit a solo homer and Michael Brantley had three hits for the Indians, who have won five of their last seven games and remained three games behind the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead.

The Indians, who are 6-3 this month, will also visit Tampa Bay for seven games on their current road trip and have won three in a row as the guest.

Ubaldo Jimenez will try to string consecutive wins together when he takes the mound for the Tribe today. Jimenez ended a two-game slide his last time out in a 7-3 win over Tampa Bay on July 7, when he struck out eight and allowed two runs in six innings of work.

Jimenez, who is 8-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 17 starts, opened his first full season with the Indians on April 7 against Toronto and did not record a decision in a 7-4 loss. The hard-throwing right-hander pitched well in that one and allowed just two runs in seven innings. Jimenez is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays.

Toronto's July swoon continued Friday as the club dropped to 3-6 this month.

Adam Lind had two of the Jays' five hits, while Ricky Romero was on the losing end of a great pitching performance. Romero allowed one run and six hits, including Hafner's homer, struck out six and issued a pair of walks in six innings of work.

"Ricky did a very good job for us with the exception of the one breaking ball that stayed up over the middle to Hafner," admitted Blue Jays manager John Farrell of Romero.

The Blue Jays were shut out for the second time in three games. Third baseman Brett Lawrie went 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup and was scratched from Toronto's final game prior to the All-Star break because of back spasms.

Toronto is last in the AL East at 10 1/2 games off the pace.

Still searching for his victory of the season, Aaron Laffey draws the start for the Blue Jays this afternoon. Laffey is 0-1 with a 2.67 ERA in seven games (3 starts) this season and lost his last outing on July 6 in a 4-2 setback against the Chicago White Sox.

Laffey, a left-hander, has lasted at least six innings in each of his previous three trips to the mound. He will make the first start of his career against the Indians and faced them once in relief, tossing two scoreless innings.

Toronto took two of three from the Tribe earlier in the year.

 

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