Cleveland, OH – Michael Brantley belted a three-run homer in the first inning and Justin Masterson pitched into the seventh, as the Cleveland Indians snapped a nine-game skid by holding off the New York Yankees, 3-1, Saturday night.
Masterson (10-11) allowed seven hits and a run while fanning six over 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander has won three of his last four starts overall and five of his last six home decisions.
Hiroki Kuroda (12-9) went the distance and gave up four hits and fanned six batters. He lost for just the second time in his last 12 starts.
Derek Jeter had a pair of hits and scored for the AL East leaders, who lost for the fourth time in five contests. Their lead in the division stands at 3 1/2 games over the Tampa Bay Rays.
It was a case of lost opportunities for the Yankees, who left eight men on base in a three-inning span.
The Indians had been outscored 54-25 during their slide, but got immediate offense against Kuroda. Jason Kipnis was hit by a pitch and Shin-Soo Choo walked with one out. After Carlos Santana struck out, Brantley clubbed a ball that hit off the top of the wall and over it in right-center field for his sixth homer of the year.
The Yankees left two men in scoring position in the fifth inning when Ichiro Suzuki flied out.
New York loaded the bases in the next inning, but only got a Mark Teixeira sacrifice fly. Curtis Granderson walked to fill the bases again, but Masterson retired Eric Chavez on a line drive to third and Russell Martin on a fly ball to right field.
Vinnie Pestano entered from the bullpen in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second and two outs. He walked Robinson Cano, but got Teixeira to pop out to third base.
"The goal is to minimize the damage and we were able to do that," Masterson said. "Pretty or not pretty, we got through it."
The Yankees didn't get a base runner the final two innings, and Chris Perez notched his 33rd save of the year.
"We hit the ball well a couple times with the bases loaded, but didn't get any balls to fall for us," Martin said. "I felt we battled nicely, but it just wasn't going our way today."
Kuroda has three complete games this year and five for his career. His previous four complete games were all shutouts ... Kuroda threw 108 pitches and has reached the century mark in 12 straight starts ... The Indians, who had just four hits, won for the first time in five tries against the Yankees in 2012 ... New York left nine men on base.