Justin Masterson tries to pitch the Cleveland Indians to their fourth straight win this evening when they continue a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field.
Masterson beat the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, holding them to a pair of runs (1 earned) and five hits over seven innings. He also struck out seven without walking a batter, as he improved to 5-7 to go along with a 3.92 ERA.
"The ball was moving and slicing," Masterson said. "That's what we want it to do. It was really nice."
The right-handed sinkerballer has now lasted at least six frames in each of his last 13 starts, the longest stretch by a Cleveland pitcher since Cliff Lee went 14 straight starts during the 2009 season.
Masterson has faced the Rays 11 times (7 starts) and is 1-6 against them with a 6.80 ERA.
Cleveland drew first blood in this series on Thursday, as Josh Tomlin pitched seven innings of one-run ball in the Indians' 3-1 win. Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner and Michael Brantley all hit solo homers for Cleveland, which won for the fifth time in six games.
Tomlin (5-5) gave up two hits and struck out three with no walks to win his second straight start.
"Tomlin did a fantastic job and that's the only way you can beat those guys is by out-pitching them," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. "His curveball was fantastic and it kept them off-balance all night."
Jose Molina drove in the only run for the Rays, who have lost their past two. Jeremy Hellickson (4-5) dropped his fifth straight decision as he was tagged for two runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts over six innings.
"I thought his stuff was pretty good out there tonight," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon about Hellickson. "He did a good job and gave us a chance to win, we just couldn't get anything going."
Luke Scott continued to struggle and is now hitless in 39 straight at-bats, breaking Jose Cruz Jr.'s Rays record. Cruz was 0-for-37 from April 16-May 1, 2004.
Heading to the hill for the Rays tonight will be righty Alex Cobb, who is 3-5 with a 4.94 ERA. Cobb lost for the fifth time in his last six starts on Sunday against Detroit, as he allowed five runs (4 earned) and eight hits in 5 1/3 frames.
This will be his first-ever appearance against the Tribe.
Tampa Bay won four of its six meetings with the Indians last season.