Another long losing streak is finally over, and surprisingly, it ended not with some fluke last at-bat victory but with a very good pitching performance by everyone involved.
Justin Masterson was the star of the game, allowing the best offensive team in the league only one run on 1 through 6.2 innings. He breezed through the first four innings, allowing one hit and no walks, something that's difficult to do against a very patient lineup. He started to struggle in the later innings, having to get out of jams in the fifth (second and third two outs) and sixth (bases loaded, nobody out), and would pulled after getting into a jam in the seventh (first and second, two outs). But in comparison with what we've seen from Masterson as well as everyone else in the rotation this season, a 6.2 inning, one run outing is as good as it gets, especially taking into account the opposition.
The Indians have been stingy with runs when Masterson has pitched; the Indians have averaged 3.67 runs per game when Masterson pitches, the sixth-fewest total for a starter in the AL. The Indians pretty much matched their average tonight, as they scored three runs in support of Justin tonight. All three runs came on one swing of the bat; in the first inning. Hiroki Kuroda, who along with CC Sabathia has carried the rotation, was a bit wild early in the game, hitting Jason Kipnis to start the game and walking Choo with one out. Then Michael Brantley stepped to the plate, and hit one out just over the fence in right field. Kuroda would pitch a complete game, allowing just four hits in his eight innings of work, though the Indians had a couple decent opportunities the rest of the way.
When Masterson was pulled in the seventh, Manny Acta elected to go with Vinnie Pestano instead of Joe Smith or Tony Sipp. This was a chance to end a 9-game losing streak, and Acta wasn't taking any chances. Pestano has been struggling recently with command, and it showed early, as he would walk Robinson Cano to load the bases, but he'd get Mark Teixeira to pop out to end the threat. He'd breeze through the eighth in his second inning of work, and Chris Perez would retire the Yankees in order in the ninth, two of the three outs coming via strikeout.