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Masterson sharp for six innings, Indians edge Tigers again

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Associated Press
9/4/2012 11:44:54 PM
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DETROIT -- Jim Leyland loaded the lineup with lefties against Justin Masterson, then watched his Detroit Tigers struggle to another loss.

Afterward, there wasn't a hint of panic in his voice.

"I'm not frustrated," Leyland said. "I'm not going to change. We've been the same all year. We come here ready to do our job and do our best."

Don't expect a lot of theatrics from the veteran manager over these final pressure-packed weeks of the regular season -- no matter how exasperating things look on the field.

Masterson pitched six solid innings Tuesday night, and the Cleveland Indians beat Detroit 3-2 for their second straight victory over the playoff-chasing Tigers.

After being swept three straight by Kansas City, Detroit turned around and took three in a row from Chicago to pull even with the White Sox atop the AL Central. Now the Tigers have lost two straight to a Cleveland team that dropped 29 of 35 before this series.

Detroit's last six losses have been by one run.

"It's not a frustration, it's the real world. You've got to win games," Leyland said. "If you want to get to the post-season, we've got to win enough games to do it, but I'm not going to change. That's just the way it is. We come here steady every day."

The Tigers remained a game behind the first-place White Sox when Chicago lost 18-9 to Minnesota.

Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer for Detroit, but the Tigers managed only four hits. They began the game with five left-handed hitters in the lineup. Masterson wasn't bothered.

"He's a guy we look to every five games to do just what he did tonight because he has the stuff to do it," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "When he's like tonight, when he's able to command the ball, it doesn't matter how many lefties they have out there."

Masterson (11-12) allowed two runs and four hits. The right-hander walked one and struck out four.

Four relievers finished, with Chris Perez pitching a perfect ninth for his 34th save in 38 chances.

Cleveland was 0-10-1 in its last 11 series. This will be the first winning series for the Indians since they took two of three from Detroit from July 24-26.

"Today, a lot of good movement on the ball, it was coming out of my hand well," Masterson said. "You have as bad an August as we had, it seemed that September became a relief for us."

Rick Porcello (9-11) allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.

Michael Brantley hit an RBI double in the second to open the scoring, and Jack Hannahan drove in a run with a single later in the inning.

Brantley has hit safely in 15 straight games against Detroit.

In the third, Asdrubal Cabrera came to the plate with a man on second. His fair ball down the right field line was picked up by an unsuspecting ballboy. The umpires ruled it a run-scoring double.

Detroit left fielder Andy Dirks made a diving catch of Brantley's sinking liner in the fifth to prevent another run from scoring, and Cabrera's 34th home run of the year made it 3-2 in the sixth.

Detroit reliever Drew Smyly threw 30 pitches without a ball in play -- three strikeouts and two walks. Then right-hander Al Alburquerque came on with two outs in the seventh for his first appearance with the Tigers since off-season surgery on his throwing elbow.

Alburquerque retired all four hitters he faced.

The Tigers put two men on in the seventh, but Omar Infante hit a routine groundball to end the inning.

Vinnie Pestano worked a perfect eighth before giving way to Perez. Detroit didn't have a hit after Cabrera's homer.

"It's tough for us, but you've got to remember, they're still a major league team. They've got good players over there," Smyly said. "They can compete with anyone, any given day. We've each got to come ready to play."

NOTES: The Tigers haven't scored while Porcello was in the game in any of his last four starts. ... The Indians recalled LHP David Huff, LHP Scott Maine, INF Cord Phelps and INF-OF Vinny Rottino from Triple-A Columbus. ... Detroit recalled RHP Luke Putkonen from Triple-A Toledo. ... Detroit will try to avoid a three-game sweep Wednesday night. RHP Doug Fister (7-8) takes the mound against Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-14).

Justin Masterson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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