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Masterson hopes for another strong start as Tribe battle Jays

10:49 AM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
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Cleveland Indians starter Justin Masterson couldn't follow a brilliant performance his last time out and looks to redeem himself Wednesday in the second portion of a three-game series versus the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field.

Masterson recorded his third shutout of the season on June 30 at Chicago, then was hammered for six runs in a season-low 4 2/3 of a 7-0 loss to Detroit last Friday.

"He didn't have his real sharp breaking ball," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "A lot of times you seem him back-door to a lefty or have some power to it. There were times where he got through the lineup towards the middle of his outing where he started throwing it a little harder, and it was more effective.

"But, when you don't have your 'A' game, with that lineup, that will certainly add to it."

Masterson, who will be a first-time All-Star next week, has lost four of his last six decisions and dropped to 10-7 in 19 starts while his ERA went up slightly from 3.48 to 3.78. The right-hander opened the 2013 season with a win over the Blue Jays on April 2 and is 4-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 13 games (5 starts) lifetime against them.

Ubaldo Jimenez got the job done in his start versus the Jays and pitched six shutout innings in Tuesday's 3-0 win. Cody Allen, Joe Smith and Chris Perez all threw a scoreless inning of relief, with Perez picking up his 10th save.

"He did a good job. There was some traffic for the better part of the night," Francona said of Jimenez. "He pitched around some things. He never let it spiral or get out of hand. ... He pitched himself back into counts when he needed to. He had good life on his fastball. There was a lot of things to like."

Michael Brantley, Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera all finished with an RBI, as the Indians won for the second time in three tries since a four-game slide and pulled within 2 1/2 games of the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central lead. The Tigers were trounced by the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

Cleveland is 2-3 on a 10-game homestand.

The Blue Jays opened a six-game road trip on a sour note and lost for the fifth time in seven tries. Josh Johnson pitched well in defeat and fell to 1-4 after he permitted a pair of runs in seven innings. He struck out six batters and issued a pair of walks.

"I thought Josh was great," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He pitched a heck of a ballgame, we just didn't get any run support."

Maicer Izturis was the lone offensive bright spot for Toronto and finished 3- for-4 with a double. Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus each had a two-base hit in the loss.

Toronto will visit Baltimore after this series in Cleveland and is just 5-10 in the past 15 contests since an 11-game win streak from June 11-23.

Esmil Rogers is 0-2 in his last three appearances and looks to change that when he takes the ball for the Blue Jays Wednesday. The Tigers took Rogers behind the woodshed in Thursday's 11-1 victory and produced seven runs and 11 hits in five innings off the right-hander.

Rogers is 3-4 in 30 games, seven of which have been starts, with a decent 3.84 ERA. In two career relief appearances against the Tribe, Rogers hasn't accumulated any numbers through 1 1/3 innings.

The Jays lost two of three matchups with the Indians in early April at Rogers Centre. Cleveland hasn't won a season series with Toronto since 2010.

 

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