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Swisher comes through in the ninth, Indians edge White Sox

Associated Press
4/12/2013 10:03:40 PM
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CLEVELAND -- On a pitching staff that's been battered and bruised, Justin Masterson is performing like an ace.

Cleveland's right-hander threw nine shutout innings and Nick Swisher's two-out RBI single in the ninth gave the Indians a 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

Masterson, who has three of Cleveland's four wins, extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to a career-high 19. He hasn't allowed a run since the third inning on opening day against Toronto and pitched seven scoreless in his second start against Tampa Bay.

"It's going to end sometime, right?" Masterson said of his scoreless innings streak. "You have to go out and finish off innings, which is something I'm trying to do."

"It would have been a shame for us to not go out and get Masty that win," said Swisher, who hit the first pitch from reliever Jesse Crain to score Michael Bourn with the game's only run.

The Indians were outscored 25-7 in losing the first two games of a series to the Yankees. Scheduled games Wednesday and Thursday were postponed by rain, allowing manager Terry Francona to come back with Masterson.

The Indians' pitching staff had a 5.58 ERA through the first eight games and had allowed 16 home runs.

"It was fun," Francona said. "It would have been more fun if we had (scored) nine, but it was really good."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura was impressed with Masterson's performance.

"This is as good as I think I've ever seen him," Ventura said. "He was great today. And that's the story -- he was great. His ball was moving all over the place."

Masterson (3-0) retired the side in order in the ninth and was given a standing ovation by the crowd of 11,864. That momentum carried into the bottom of the inning when Bourn started the rally with a one-out double off Crain (0-1).

Bourn's blooper landed near the left field line and he beat the throw to second base. After Asdrubal Cabrera's groundout moved Bourn to third, Crain fell behind Jason Kipnis in the count 3-0 before an intentional walk was issued.

Swisher, one of the Indians' key off-season additions, hit the first pitch into right field and was mobbed by his teammates as the Indians won for the first time in three home games despite managing only three hits.

"The two stars of the game were Justin Masterson and Jason Kipnis," Swisher said.

Masterson and Jose Quintana engaged in a pitchers' duel. Masterson allowed five hits and struck out seven. Quintana held the Indians to one hit in seven innings with seven strikeouts.

Masterson was assisted by his defence. Alex Rios hit a ball off the wall with two outs in the first, but was thrown out trying for a double by left fielder Michael Brantley.

Alexei Ramirez singled to lead off the sixth, but was thrown out attempting to steal second by catcher Yan Gomes. Paul Konerko doubled with two outs in the seventh -- becoming Chicago's first batter to reach second -- but Dayan Viciedo struck out.

Conor Gillaspie started the eighth with a double over the head of Brantley, who nearly made a running catch in front of the wall. Ramirez fouled off a bunt attempt that was caught by Gomes behind home plate. After a groundout moved Gillaspie to third, Masterson struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the inning.

"My defence was great for me," Masterson said. "I'm trying to stay under control and it really makes a difference when your defence makes those kinds of plays."

Quintana allowed one hit -- Brantley's two-out double in the second. The Indians' only other base runner against the left-hander came when Swisher was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fourth. Quintana, who allowed six runs in four innings in his first start against Seattle, struck out seven. Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless eighth.

Cleveland activated designated hitter Jason Giambi (strained lower back) from the 15-day disabled before the game.

Francona said catcher Carlos Santana, who has been out since Monday with a bruised left hand, could be in the lineup Saturday. Santana, who is 13 for 26, is the only qualifying player currently batting .500 or better.

NOTES: White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken wrist and will have surgery on Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic.... Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper remains hospitalized in Northern Virginia with diverticulitis. He'll miss the remainder of the team's 10-game road trip. ... RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, pitching at Triple-A Columbus, left Friday's game against Indianapolis in the third inning after issuing five walks. The Indians signed the veteran to a minor-league contract before spring training. ... LHP Scott Kazmir, who is on the disabled list with a strained rib cage, threw a bullpen session on Friday. ... In other roster moves, LHP Nick Hagadone was recalled from Columbus, RHP Corey Kluber was optioned to Columbus and RHP Matt Albers was placed on the paternity list.

Nick Swisher (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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