CLEVELAND — Swept in Cincinnati last week, the Indians came home and returned the favor.
Justin Masterson finished off the Reds – completely.
Masterson pitched a three-hitter for his first complete game this season and the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians capped off a three-game sweep with an 8-1 win Wednesday night.
Masterson (4-6) took a shutout into the eighth before the Reds ended the right-hander’s streak of consecutive scoreless innings at 18. He did not walk a batter and struck out nine, including the side in the ninth, for his fourth career complete game. Cincinnati’s only run was unearned.
“He was just terrific,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He pounded the strike zone with that heavy sinker. It was going down like a bowling ball.”
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer and Johnny Damon hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning off Bronson Arroyo (3-5). Lonnie Chisenhall added three RBI for the Indians, who played poorly while losing three in a row last week in southern Ohio, but have turned things around to move back atop their division.
“We’re a resilient team,” said Masterson, who became the first Cleveland pitcher to record a complete game at home since 2010. “I think we’ll be able to carry this momentum on the road and have a lot of fun with it.”
It was the first time the Reds and Indians had faced each other as first-place teams since 1999, and Masterson made sure Cleveland came out on top.
The Reds did not get a runner to second against Masterson until the eighth. Cabrera booted Jay Bruce’s leadoff grounder to shortstop and Todd Frazier doubled with one out. Willie Harris followed with an RBI groundout, the first run given up by Masterson since June 9 in St. Louis – a career-best 18 innings.
Masterson capped the ninth by getting the dangerous Joey Votto to look at strike three, an exclamation point on his dominant performance.
“There was a little fire there,” Masterson said. “I wanted to close it out.”
Reds manager Dusty Baker knew Masterson was capable of shutting down his team.
“When he’s on, he’s very tough,” Baker said,