Indians try to get bats going against Beckett
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Indians have managed just two hits in their last two games and zero runs in their past 21 innings.
Those numbers don't figure to improve all that much on Tuesday night, when the Tribe resume a three-game series against Josh Beckett and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It has been a tough go of things as of late for Cleveland, which has lost seven of its past nine games while batting .225 in that span. The Indians also have been held to one hit or fewer in back-to-back games for the first time in team history, blanked 3-0 by Seattle on Sunday and then 1-0 versus the Dodgers in Monday's opener.
Michael Bourn had the lone hit last night, a two-out single in the third inning in which he was originally called out on a bang-bang play. However, Cleveland challenged and Bourn was ruled safe.
That was the lone blemish for the Dodgers, who got seven innings from starter Dan Haren and perfect frames of relief by Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen.
Those efforts were almost wasted until Clint Robinson drove in a run with a single in the seventh inning. Pinch-hitting for Haren, Robinson logged both his first career hit and RBI as the Dodgers won for the sixth time in seventh games and took sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time since April 24.
"It feels great," said Robinson. "It gave the team a chance to win the ballgame. That's the most important thing. It's a good feeling to know that the manager wanted me there at that time."
Cleveland's continued struggles caused Corey Kluber to take a tough-luck loss despite the hurler allowing just the one run over 6 2/3 innings.
"I thought Corey was tremendous," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "To give up only one run is outstanding."
Los Angeles was coming off a 6-0 win over St. Louis and its pitching staff has not allowed a run in 24 consecutive innings. That is a streak that Beckett stands a good chance of extending given that four of his past seven outings have been scoreless.
That span began with a no-hitter versus Philadelphia on May 25 and Beckett has not allowed a run in back-to-back outings, spanning 14 innings. Despite that, the righty did not factor into a 1-0 win over the Cardinals on Thursday, scattering four hits and two walks over seven frames with five strikeouts.
"He's been pretty amazing this year," said Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly about Beckett. "That's a good hitting club over there. He used all his pitches tonight. This was kind of like a playoff game."
Beckett, 34, now sits at 5-4 on the year with a 2.11 earned run average that is third best in the NL. He is 4-6 with a 5.65 ERA in 11 career meetings with the Indians, who send sinkerballer Justin Masterson to the hill tonight.
Masterson is winless in his past three outings with a 7.62 ERA and just 4-5 with a 5.03 ERA on the year, but is pitching on an extra two days of rest because of a sore right knee that has apparently been bothering the right- hander for most of the season.
"Although it seems like such a short amount of time," Masterson said on Cleveland's official website, "two days can really give you a lot of opportunity, when you have those full days to know that you can do a lot of things within them. We'll fight it for the next probably couple weeks. But, I think we've got it to a good point now where it will stay down and we can keep it down. At least that's the idea."
Masterson's current winless stretch started with a loss to Boston on June 13 as he allowed five runs over tow innings, though the 29-year-old rebounded in a no-decision versus the Los Angeles Angels by giving up one run over seven frames.
However, five days later against Arizona, Masterson yielded five runs over four innings in another no-decision.
He will face the Dodgers for the first time.
The Indians won two of three in Los Angeles when these clubs last met in 2008. The only other previous series between the clubs was a three-game sweep by the Dodgers in Cleveland back in 2003.
07/01 10:46:56 ET