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Tribe aim to stay hot in opener with Blue Jays
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Indians try to stay on the winning path Tuesday when they open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Cleveland enters this series playing the best baseball of its season, having won five of six after a series win over the Tampa Bay Rays this past weekend. The Indians won Sunday's rubber match, as Nyjer Morgan went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBI and his first homer since 2012 in a 6-5 triumph.
"We were looking for a way to get him in there today and I'm glad we did," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Yan Gomes also homered for Cleveland, while Michael Bourn drove in a pair to help Josh Tomlin (2-0) pick up his second win in as many starts this season. Tomlin allowed two runs on six hits over six strong innings.
Now, the Indians turn to right-handed sinkerballer Justin Masterson, who has won his last two starts. After tossing 7 1/3 scoreless frames to beat the Chicago White Sox, Masterson defeated the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, limiting them to two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. He also struck out seven, but walked four and still improved to 2-1 to go along with a 3.86 ERA.
Masterson will be going on regular rest tonight after having pitched with an extra day his last time out. In four starts on regular rest this season, Masterson has turned in a 2.96 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. In his other three starts, which have come with extra days off, he has posted a 7.36 ERA and 2.05 WHIP.
"It just feels right. I don't know what it is or how it works, but it just seems to be right," Masterson said. "I don't really know. It just kind of works out well. Everything is kind of lined up and you can say, 'Hey, this is my day. This is when I'm doing it and I'm going to make it work no matter what.' There's no question marks or anything. You know it's your day."
Masterson did not get a decision against the Jays earlier this season, but is 4-1 lifetime against them with a 2.79 ERA in 15 games (7 starts).
Toronto, meanwhile, will counter with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who is unbeaten in his last four starts (2-0). Dickey topped Philadelphia on Thursday, as he held them to three runs (2 earned) and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to run his record to 3-3 to go along with a 4.72 ERA.
He also has 23 strikeouts and 10 walks over his last four starts in 24 2/3 innings.
Dickey has faced the Indians 11 times (5 starts) and is 2-2 versus them with a 3.61 ERA.
Toronto can only hope Dickey pitches as well as Mark Buehrle did on Monday. The veteran left-hander survived six hits and five walks to allow just a pair of runs in six-plus innings in Toronto's 7-2 win over the LA Angels of Anaheim.
Buehrle's seven wins and 2.04 ERA are tops in the American League.
"Losing three straight at home, after we did play four games in a row good against Philly, but we have to come out and battle," Buehrle said. "If we win seven in a row, or we lose seven in a row, we can't get up too high, or down too low. We have to concentrate on each game, one game at a time."
Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie both homered in the win for the Blue Jays, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"They haven't been able to bury us yet," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the AL. "We haven't put it all together, but they haven't been able to bury us. We still keep hanging around, so that gives me optimism that when it all starts clicking."
Toronto took two of three from the Tribe earlier in the year.
05/13 10:55:33 ET
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