Justin Masterson tries to get himself right on Wednesday when the Cleveland Indians continue their four-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field.
Masterson opened the year by winning his first three starts and pitched to a 0.41 ERA in the process. However, he has lost two of three decisions since and has allowed 12 runs in his last two starts.
The sinkerballing right-hander did not get a decision against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, but surrendered five runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings of the Tribe's 7-6 win. He is 4-2 on the year with a 3.64 ERA.
Masterson's struggles could continue on Wednesday, as he owns just a 1-5 lifetime mark versus the A's with an 8.10 ERA over 10 games (6 starts).
Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with righty A.J.Griffin, who put the brakes on a personal two-game losing streak with a tremendous effort his last time out. Griffin defeated the New York Yankees on Friday, limiting them to just six hits over seven scoreless innings to run his record to 3-2 on the year, while lowering his ERA to 3.79.
"A.J. pitched great," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "It doesn't really matter what else goes on when you get seven shutout innings from your starter in this ballpark, and you've got a fresh bullpen behind you. He was terrific."
After losing eight straight to the A's, Cleveland has won the first two games of this series. On Tuesday, Zach McAllister pitched a gem to lead the Tribe to a 1-0 win.
Carlos Santana led off the decisive fifth inning with a grounder to first base, which was muffed by Brandon Moss. The ball then scooted toward second base and was picked up by Eric Sogard, whose errant throw to the pitcher covering first allowed Santana to advance to second. Mike Aviles then singled Santana to third two batters later, and Yan Gomes plated Santana with a sacrifice fly to deep center field for the game's only run.
McAllister (3-3) went 7 2/3 innings, allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out four. Chris Perez surrendered a one-out single to Yoenis Cespedes in the ninth but got out of it unscathed for his fourth save of the season.
"I was able to get ahead of hitters," said McAllister. "When you do that you're able to get into a pretty good rhythm."
A's starter Tommy Milone (3-4) was terrific as well. He was charged with just one unearned run and five hits over seven innings of work despite the loss.
"It's disappointing when you can't get him a run or two," said manager Bob Melvin about Milone. "It looked like he was on the corners most of the night."
The A's have lost four of six and have managed just 16 runs in that span.
Oakland was 8-2 last season versus the Indians.