The Cleveland Indians are in first place. It feels great to type those words because it is very rare that this occurs. The team is on a sixth game win streak and will look to record their second straight series sweep behind Josh Tomlin.
The first game of the series featured an offensive outburst by the Tribe. Saturday’s game was much different. It was dominated by pitching, but in the end the Indians pitchers were the victors. Justin Masterson got the start and the win, which now puts his record at 2-0. He went 6.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits. He also had 9 k’s with only one walk.
The Indians scored both of their runs in the fourth off of Seattle’s Doug Fister, who pitched a great game himself. Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo started the inning off with back to back singles. After an out was recorded, Hafner was intentionally walked. Orlando Cabrera came to the plate and hit a fly ball to Milton Bradley in left. One run scored easily off of this and Bradley had no chance of getting an out. He threw the ball over the cut-off man’s head in the direction of third base. The ball tailed and headed towards the Indians dugout. Fister attempted to get the ball but he ended up deflecting it into the Indians dugout. This put the score at 2-0 in favor of the Indians.
Later in the game, Bradley was seen with earplugs in his ear. This came after he was seen talking to the umpire, possibly about fans heckling him from the crowd. He has always been known as a problem, especially when he was with current Seattle manager Eric Wedge in Cleveland. His struggles at the plate also did nothing to help his state of mind.
Masterson started to get into trouble in the seventh. He allowed a leadoff double to Justin Smoak and was pulled by Manny Acta in favor of Rafael Perez. He came in and eventually allowed an RBI single by Michael Saunders to put the score at 2-1 Cleveland. Ichiro came to bat with a runner on third and two outs. To the surprise of many, he laid down a bunt which went right to Perez. Perez threw a strike to LaPorta at first to get out of the inning with the lead.
The eighth inning saw Tony Sipp come in and get the hold after allowing a leadoff double. He struck out Milton Bradley and Jack Cust to send the game into ninth and let Chris Perez go to work. Chris Perez came in and quickly shut the door. He retired the Mariners in order to get his third save of the year.
The combination of Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp, and Chris Perez is becoming a tough one for hitters to overcome. The two lefties tie up hitters and leave the door open for Chris Perez to come in and close it out. If they stay consistent, this bullpen will be among the top in the league.