Nick Swisher picked a fine time to extend his Progressive Field hitting streak to 19 games by delivering a walk-off single to plate Michael Bourn giving Justin Masterson and the Cleveland Indians a 1-0 victory.
It’s only fitting that Terry Francona‘s first win at Progressive Field was due in large part to two of his biggest supporters in Justin Masterson and Nick Swisher. With the victory the Indians end a 2 game losing streak and improve to 4-5 on the year. The White Sox have now dropped 4 in a row and their record falls to 4-6.
On a cold evening with the game time temperature a frigid 42 degrees with a 15 mile per hour wind blowing out to right field the announced crowd of 11,864 were treated to a pitching duel between Justin Masterson and White Sox lefty Jose Quintana.
Justin Masterson improves his record to 3-0 and lowers his ERA to a microscopic 0.41. He was impressive tossing a complete game shutout allowing only 5 hits while striking out 7 and walking only 1. Of his 113 pitches 81 were strikes including 13 swing and misses. According to Brooksbaseball.net he threw 79 sinkers averaging 92.58 mph maxing out at 97.34 mph generating 6 swing and misses (7.6%), 30 sliders averaging 84.73 mph with a max velocity of 87.62 and generating 6 swing and misses (20%), and four 4-seam fastballs averaging 84.73 mph with a max velocity of 87.62 and generating 1 swing and miss (25%).
Jose Quintana handcuffed the Indians hitters in his impressive 7 scoreless innings of work allowing only 1 hit, striking out 7, walking 0, and hit a batter. Matt Thornton worked a scoreless 8th inning and Jesse Crain (0-1, 3.86 ERA) retired two batters in the ninth inning and took the loss.
The White Sox did not go quietly and put up their biggest threat in the 8th inning. Connor Gillapsie led off the inning with a double over Michael Brantley‘s head but Alexei Ramirez was unable to sacrifice him to 3rd and popped out to catcher Yan Gomes for the first out. Hector Gimenez grounded out to Jason Kipnis for the second out to bring renown Indians killer Alejandro De Aza stepped to the plate.
Alejandro De Aza — the greatest player ever (when playing the #Indians) leads off with a ground out. Hitting .374 in his career vs. CLE
— T.J. Zuppe (@TJZuppe) April 12, 2013
With Vinnie Pestano warming in the pen pitching coach Mickey Callaway visited the mound to give Justin Masterson a moment to catch his breath and to give Pestano more time to get ready in the pen if De Aza were to reach base. Masterson jumped ahead 0-2 but De Aza worked his way back to even the count before striking out to end the inning.
Despite being at 101 pitches on a cold evening and a fully rested bullpen Terry Francona allowed Masterson to return for the ninth inning. After retiring right handed batters Jeff Keppinger and Alex Rios left handed slugger Adam Dunn came to the plate but was retired on a soft fly ball to left to end the White Sox half of the ninth inning.
The Tribe rallied to win in the bottom of the ninth. Jesse Crain struck out Drew Stubbs to begin the inning but then Michael Bourn dropped a duck snort double just inside the left field line and advanced to third on an Asdrubal Cabrera ground out. Jason Kipnis who has been a White Sox nemesis was not given anything to hit and when Crain fell behind 3-0 and manager Robin Ventura ordered the intentional walk to bring Nick Swisher to the plate. Swisher lined the first pitch down the right field line scoring Bourn and giving the Indians and manager Terry Francona their first home victories.
– Justin Masterson extended his scoreless inning streak to 19 innings in tossing his first complete game shutout since June 9, 2010 against the Boston Red Sox.
– Yan Gomes showed off his arm in erasing Alexei Ramirez on a failed hit and run in the top of the 6th.
– Right handed batters have a career batting average of .291 (111 for 381) off Jose Quintana s but the Indians right handed hitters were unable to get a hit off him going 0-12. The only RHB to reach base against Quintna was Nick Swisher who was hit by a pitch.
– This one goes to Robin Ventura who chose to tip toe around Jason Kipnis to face Nick Swisher with the winning run at 3rd base in the 9th inning.
Interesting Shift: Indians pulled Nick Swisher way off the line against Paul Konerko.
Zach McAllister (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs Chris Sale (1-0, 1.84 ERA) Saturday 4:05 PM
Tags: Cleveland Indians