CLEVELAND -- Another game without timely hitting and too much Justin Masterson has the White Sox winless in four straight games.
Nick Swisher’s two-out RBI single in the ninth inning off Jesse Crain lifted the Cleveland Indians past the White Sox, 1-0, in front of 11, 864 at Progressive Field on Friday. Masterson pitched a complete-game, five-hit shutout to outlast a strong start by Jose Quintana and the Indians made the most of their three hits.
It was the first walk-off 1-0 loss since Aug. 12, 2009 for the White Sox, who finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position to drop their season average to .145 (9-for-62) in those situations.
The White Sox are now 0-4 to start their 10-game road trip.
“Problem is we’re not getting a big hit to drive a run in,” first baseman Adam Dunn said. “It seems like it’s been like that from the get-go. I know personally I’ve been terrible. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to open some games up, but haven’t been able to do it. It’s one of those things. Tonight it was all [Masterson’s] doing, but he was very good.”
Swisher capitalized on one of Cleveland’s rare opportunities to produce the game’s only run.
Michael Bourn started the ninth-inning rally with a one-out, opposite-field bloop double. One out later, and after an intentional walk to Jason Kipnis, Swisher ripped the first pitch from Crain just inside the right-field line and celebrated as Bourn crossed the plate.
“He hit it on the line, what am I going to do?” Crain said. “You can always second guess afterwards ‘Oh, I should have thrown a different pitch.’ You can’t control what the ball is going to do. I mean, I gave up a bloop down the left-field line and then a ball down the right-field line. Someone was going to have to score to win that game and unfortunately it came for them.”
Masterson’s performance heavily increased Cleveland’s chance of winning.
Through Friday night, he has completed a career-best 20 straight scoreless innings. The right-hander limited the White Sox to few chances, although they stranded the go-ahead run in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings.
The eighth was clearly the White Sox best chance to score when Conor Gillaspie (2-for-3) hit a leadoff double. But shortstop Alexei Ramirez couldn’t advance the runner as he fouled out trying to bunt and Masterson got Hector Gimenez to ground out before he fanned Alejandro De Aza.
Masterson struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 0.41.
“He was great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “His ball was moving all over the place. Just looking at the swings and how guys were reacting to stuff, this was as good as I’ve seen him.”
The White Sox had several near misses in the early innings but didn’t capitalize. Alex Rios extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a long drive off the left-field wall but was thrown out trying for a double.
Ramirez singled to start the sixth inning but was caught stealing. And Paul Konerko’s drive to left in the seventh fell just shy of a home run as he settled for a double and was stranded when Dayan Viciedo struck out.
The shutout meant Quintana took another hard-luck no-decision. A week after he was roughed up in his first start, Quintana was nearly flawless.
He was aided by two great running grabs from Viciedo and Rios added another. Aside from those, however, Quintana didn’t come close to trouble as he limited the Indians to a hit and hit a batter while he struck out seven in seven innings.
“I felt really good,” Quintana said. “Today’s game was a tough one. We’ve played well, but haven’t done the little things we need to do to win the game. We’ll keep going.”