Justin Masterson's Gem Lifts Cleveland Indians Over New York Yankees

By Nick Tom
Jake Roth-USA Today Sports

So what happens when your replacements sit and the replacements’ replacements take the field? Well, you found out Monday afternoon.

The New York Yankees were downed 1-0 by the Cleveland Indians and Justin Masterson in the first game of their traditional doubleheader.

The Yankees fielded perhaps the most unorthodox lineup that Joe Girardi has written up all season. Interim regulars Jayson Nix and Vernon Wells both yielded innings to rookie Corban Joseph and lifetime journeyman Alberto Gonzalez.

It wasn’t a very threatening lineup, but Masterson was the proverbial Masterful Masterson. The sinkerballer threw a clean nine innings while posting nine strikeouts and allowing only seven base-runners. The Yanks’ best chance was when they loaded the bases in the second inning, but that threat ended with a Gonzalez strikeout.

So who was responsible for the lone run? Jason Kipnis, who started the year miserably slowly while fighting through elbow pain, continued his torrid streak, hitting a first-inning over the right field wall.

One lone bright spot for the Yankees was David Phelps, who, despite Kipnis’ homer, struck out seven over 6.2 innings. The cavalry can’t come soon enough for the Bombers.

Masterson’s start was part of a continued renaissance in Cleveland. The Indians now sit atop the AL Central — half a game ahead of the Detroit Tigers — with the help of their offseason overhaul that bagged Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs. All of those players were a part of the “go to” lineup the Indians sent out vs. Phelps.

Despite being unavailable for a late-game situation yesterday due to shoulder pain, Chris Perez was warming up in the ninth inning and was presumably ready to pitch had Masterson struggled late.

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