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Indians continue dominance of Cy Young winners with win vs. Mariners' Hernandez

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- For the red-hot Cleveland Indians, facing a Cy Young winner is no big deal. Sunday Cleveland faced Seattle's Felix Hernandez, who won the Cy Young Award in 2010.

Hernandez suffered the same fate that most Cy Young winners face when pitching against Cleveland this year.

Hernandez lasted just five innings, his shortest outing of the year, as the Indians rolled to a 6-0 victory. The win is Cleveland's 17th in its last 21 games.

Indians' right-hander Justin Masterson pitched seven shutout innings on three hits while striking out 11.

The Indians are now 7-1 this year when facing former Cy Young winners.

"When you come to the park and have to face one of those guys, you know you are going to have to put in a good day's work," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona.

The Indians have done exactly that. So far this year they have beaten Cy Young winners R.A. Dickey, David Price, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Bartolo Colon, Justin Verlander and Hernandez.

The only Cy Young winner who has beaten Cleveland this year is Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox.

Asked about the team's 7-1 record vs. Cy Young winners, Masterson said, "I'm sure the guys would like it to be 8-0."

In those eight games, those Cy Young winners vs. Cleveland are a combined 1-7 with an 8.21 earned run average.

The Indians scored five runs in the first two innings against Hernandez, who came into the game leading the American League with a 1.53 ERA.

"We had our guy on the mound," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "They did a good job against him, and their guy threw a heck of a ballgame."

That 5-0 lead after two innings was plenty for Masterson, who overpowered Mariners' hitters. Masterson, who struck out seven of the last 10 batters he faced, was removed from the game after seven innings and 106 pitches.

"He came out firing. Not just firing, but pitching," said Francona of Masterson. "He was using both sides of the plate, up and down, in and out, and he worked ahead in the count."

Masterson, who has pitched 19 consecutive scoreless innings over his last three starts, improved his record to 7-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.83.

"He is by far a much better pitcher than I am," said Masterson of Hernandez. "Today just happened to be our day."

Hernandez came into the game with a record of 4-0 and a 0.82 ERA in his last six starts, but the Indians quickly took a lead they never relinquished.

Michael Bourn led off the bottom of the first with a hit to right field that he turned into a double with his speed. One out later, Michael Brantley singled home Bourn. Brantley later scored on an error by Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak.

With two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the second inning the Indians reached Hernandez for three more runs. Bourn reached on an infield single and Jason Kipnis singled Bourn to third.

Brantley then hit a towering three-run home run over the wall in center field to give the Indians a 5-0 lead. Brantley's career average vs. Hernandez is .400 (8-for-20).

"I think it was a sinker that he didn't get inside enough," said Brantley of the home run pitch.

The Indians' other run came in the fourth inning when Mike Aviles doubled and scored on a double by Kipnis.

Hernandez (5-3) was removed from the game after the fifth inning, having thrown 107 pitches while giving up six runs, five earned, on eight hits. He struck out eight and walked two.

"It's tough," he said. "It wasn't my day. It was a weird game."

NOTES: Kipnis had two more hits Sunday as he continued his hot hitting in the Seattle series. In the first three games of the series, Kipnis is 6-for-13 with a double, a home run and five RBIs. ... Cleveland SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who has a .176 career batting average vs. Hernandez, was given a day off Sunday. ... RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, who will start Monday for Seattle, is third in the American League with a 1.84 ERA. ... Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen has retired the first batter he has faced in all 17 of his appearances this year.

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