Indians Break Game Open with Huge Ninth Inning Rally
Justin Masterson didn’t pitch well for the second time in as many starts, but it didn’t matter. The Indians overcame the struggles of their ace to top the White Sox 12-6. With the victory, the Indians ended a three-game losing streak.
After struggling mightily against the Twins in his previous outing, Justin Masterson was looking to rebound. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t the case for the big righty. Masterson struggled with his control and got knocked around all day on Saturday afternoon. His final line in 4.2 innings of work was 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits with 7 strikeouts and an uncharacteristic 5 walks to go with a hit batsman.
Fortunately for the Indians, things didn’t go much better for their starting pitcher, Felipe Paulino or the rest of their pitching staff. In Paulino’s 5 innings of work, he also allowed 6 runs to cross the plate on 6 hits and 3 walks. He also struck out three Indians. The Indians were never retired in order during the course of the game.
For the Indians offense, the scoring got going early and often. In the first innings, a two run single by Michael Brantley put the Tribe on top 2-0. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with an RBI groundout to make it a 3-0 ball game. The key moment that allowed the rally to get going was a call over turned thanks to replay. Nyjer Morgan was picked off of first, but a replay review confirmed that Jose Abreu missed the tag. From that point forward, the scoring binge was on. Unfortunately, the lead wouldn’t last as Masterson would cough it right back up in the bottom half of the first.
Masterson allowed four runs to cross the plate in the bottom half of the first inning. Conor Gillaspie, Adam Dunn, and Alexei Ramirez all came through with RBI singles for the White Sox. by the end of the frame, the White Sox had jumped in front by a score of 4-3.
In the top of the second, David Murphy continued his hot hitting ways. His solo home run to right, his second of the year, made it a 4-4 ball game. However, Masterson would once again allow the White Sox to take the lead in the bottom half of the second inning thanks to a solo home run by Adam Eaton. From that point forward, it was obvious which version of Masterson we’d be seeing the remainder of the day.
In the top of the fifth, the Indians climbed back in front 6-5 as both Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis hit solo home runs to right field. It is the first time this season that the Indians have hit back to back home runs. For both Swisher and Kipnis, the home runs were their second home runs of the year. It also continued Kipnis’ hot hitting ways in Chicago as he went 2 for 4 on the day.
Lock Clockwork, though, Masterson would again surrender the lead for the Indians. An RBI ground out from Jordan Danks tied the game back up and signaled the end of the day for Justin Masterson. Hopefully, he and pitching coach Mickey Callaway can figure out where he is going wrong in his mechanics before his next start.
Meanwhile, in the seventh inning, the Indians took the lead back, this time for good. With the bases loaded, following a pop out by Asdrubal Cabrera on the first pitch of his at bat, Ryan Raburn singled back up the middle to make it an 8-6 ball game. The bullpen, led by Josh Outman, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen would make the lead hold up through the next two innings. Then in the ninth, things broke wide open.
Again, with the bases loaded, the Indians got the clutch hit the had been failing to get so far this season. David Murphy, who has been red-hot over his last handful of games, socked a bases clearing triple to put the Indians ahead by a score of 11-6. He was followed by Mike Aviles, who had been struggling offensively so far this season, with an RBI single to shallow right field. That made it 12-6 in favor of the Indians and sent White Sox fans headed for the exits.
John Axford entered the game in the ninth inning even though it was a non-save situation just to get some work in. It had been several days since he had pitched and with a scheduled off day on Monday, Axford was looking at the possibility of an extended lay off.
The victory pushed the Indians record back over .500 and also ended a three game losing skid. They will look to split this four game series when they play the finale on Sunday afternoon. The scheduled starters for tomorrow’s game are Corey Kluber for the Indians versus Jose Quintana of the White Sox.