Published January 13, 2015
Giancarlo Stanton spun in the batter's box after yet another whiff for strike three, then spiked his helmet and gloves as he screamed at himself.
The Miami Marlins' slugger endured another frustrating game Sunday, and so did the rest of their lineup.
Stanton went 0 for 4 and the Marlins managed only four hits as they were shut out for the 13th time, losing to Cleveland 2-0.
He repeatedly swung at pitches outside the strike zone and fanned twice. He went 1 for 11 in three games against the Indians with five strikeouts, and his average fell to .245.
"It's something you just go through, and it always works itself out eventually," he said. "You have your ups and downs, and you just have to overcome somehow."
Stanton popped out with a runner at second in the first inning, which dropped his average with runners in scoring position to .190. He has only 13 home runs and 34 RBIs after totaling 37 and 86 last year, when he led the NL in slugging.
"It seems like he gets hot, but he just hasn't been able to sustain it," manager Mike Redmond said. "The times he's kind of gone into some funks, they've been some sustained funks for more than three or four games. He has just got to keep plugging along, and obviously we need him. When he hits, he changes our lineup."
Manager Jack McKeon and 13 players from the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship team were on hand to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, but their success wasn't contagious. With runners in scoring position, the Marlins went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
"We're not getting a ton of hits, and in a game like this that hurts you," Redmond said.
Nathan Eovaldi (2-2) allowed only one run in seven innings and hit 100 mph on the radar gun. The Marlins haven't scored when Eovaldi's on the mound over his past four starts.
"You just try to put up zeroes, and if we score runs, that's good," Eovaldi said.
Despite taking the loss, the right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.19.
"That kid has a tremendous arm," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "When you got the ball down there wasn't much you could do with it."
Scott Kazmir (7-4) and three relievers combined on a four-hitter for the Indians, who won for the 10th time in their past 11 games. Kazmir was pleased with his outing, the 200th of his career, and his grin grew widest as he discussed his fifth-inning single, his first hit since 2007.
"That was great," he said. "A lot of trash-talking has been going on the past couple of days — actually pretty much the whole year. So it was good to get that."
The shutout was the 15th for the Indians, most in the majors. They took two of three games in the series despite scoring a total of only six runs.
Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley drove in the Indians' runs, and that was enough for Kazmir. Making his 200th career appearance, the left-hander won his fourth decision in a row by limiting the Marlins to two hits in six shutout innings.
Bryan Shaw gave up two singles in the seventh but also struck out the side. Chris Perez earned his 17th save in 19 chances by pitching a perfect ninth with the help of a diving catch by center fielder Michael Bourn.
Marlins pitchers have gone 12 consecutive games without allowing a home run, the longest such streak in the majors since the 1998 Braves had streaks of 14 and 12 games. The streak nearly ended when Mark Reynolds doubled off the left-field fence in the second inning.
The Indians begin a four-game series at home Monday against AL Central leader Detroit. With the win over Miami, the Cleveland remained three games behind the Tigers.
"I'd rather be 10 up," Francona said. "But this makes this really exciting. We get to play the best team in our division and see how we can do."
Notes: The Marlins fell to 4-10 in interleague play. ... The Indians didn't attempt a steal against C Jeff Mathis after going 6 for 6 Saturday, when Rob Brantly was behind the plate. ... Miami's Ed Lucas was awarded a ground-rule double in the first inning when the ball became wedged in the base of the left-field fence under an advertising sign. He was stranded there. ... RHP Corey Kluber (7-5) is scheduled to pitch Monday for the Indians against the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez (9-7).