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Cleveland relies on Masterson in finale against Twins
(SportsNetwork.com) - Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson can pitch the Indians to a series victory on Thursday afternoon when they host the Minnesota Twins in the final game of a four-game set at Progressive Field.
Masterson got a no-decision against Minnesota on April 6, but was knocked around for six runs and seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings of a game the Indians lost, 10-7.
In his last two home outings against the Twins, he's given up 11 runs and 15 hits in 10 1/3 innings.
Still, in his most recent start, Masterson was superb, allowing four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a 2-0 defeat of the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. That win ended an eight-start winless skid.
"It's nice to go out and pitch well," he said. "Anytime you're not doing as well as you hoped, it's hard not to press."
The Indians dropped the series opener in 10 innings on Monday, but have since bounced back with two straight wins, including Wednesday night, when Mike Aviles ripped an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 4-3 victory.
Aviles finished with three hits and a run scored and Michael Brantley went 2- for-4 with a double and two RBI for Cleveland and Yan Gomes stroked a solo home run in the victory.
Starter Danny Salazar allowed three runs on six hits through 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven. John Axford (1-3) got the win after working around a two-out double and a walk in the top of the ninth.
Brian Dozier had an RBI double and Danny Santana had two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who watched starter Ricky Nolasco give up three runs on six hits while fanning nine through six frames.
Casey Fien (3-1) took the loss for the Twins.
"We're playing at home and when you hit last you always feel like you have a chance," manager Terry Francona said.
The Twins start veteran Kevin Correia, who gave up a single run in seven innings of a 6-1 win over Baltimore on Saturday.
The victory ended a stretch of nine starts in which he'd posted a 5.82 earned run average and not won a game.
"I felt like I've thrown some games where I've had a good chance to win a game," he said. "It just puts more pressure on you every time you go out there so it's nice to get that first one."
At Cleveland, he is 0-2 with a 4.22 ERA.
Minnesota took two of three from the Tribe in early April.
05/08 10:04:57 ET