Mariners-Indians Preview

The Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians remain red hot after taking the first two of three against the Seattle Mariners.

They'll have to go through Seattle's ace if they want a 17th win in 21 games, but the Indians will also have their top pitcher on the mound.

Cleveland's Justin Masterson squares off against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners on Sunday at Progressive Field.

The Indians (24-17) have won 16 of 21 and 11 of 13 at home following two dramatic victories over the Mariners, 6-3 on Friday and 5-4 on Saturday. Jason Kipnis, who delivered the winning homer in the 10th inning Friday, crossed the plate with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in the latest game as Mark Reynolds hit into a fielder's choice.

That thwarted Seattle's comeback attempt, as the Mariners got homers from Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak off closer Chris Perez in the top of the inning.

Reynolds had been 3 for 23 over eight games before going 2 for 5 with his 12th homer and three RBIs on Saturday.

"We made it more exciting than it needed to be, but there is something to be said for being resilient," manager Terry Francona said. "Rather than feeling sorry for yourself when you get punched in the gut, we came back to win."

Masterson (6-2, 3.14 ERA) pitched his second shutout of the season and third of his career Monday, throwing a four-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the New York Yankees. He's the first Indian with two shutouts in a season since Bud Black and Greg Swindell did it in 1989.

"It's really just being able to win the game, whether it's 1-0, 1,500 to zero, it doesn't matter," Masterson said. "Guys were making great plays, that's what pumps you up as the game goes on. We're all in it together."

The right-hander has gone 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA in nine career games - six starts - versus Seattle (20-23), but he's given up 13 runs over 12 innings in his last two starts against them.

Hernandez (5-2, 1.53) has also been rolling, though he suffered a scare his last time out when he left after six innings against the Yankees on Tuesday after appearing to hurt his back while fielding a ground ball and throwing to second.

He was visited by trainers, who didn't seem to be overly concerned.

"I felt a pinch in there - nothing bad. Nothing serious," he told the team's official website after allowing one run and striking out eight. "I'll be ready for the next one."

Hernandez has not allowed more than one earned run in his last six starts.

He's gone 6-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 13 starts versus Cleveland. The right-hander has limited Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera to a combined 13 of 65 (.200), though Swisher has four home runs in 48 at-bats.

Masterson has also given a number of Mariners trouble, with Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Smoak and Dustin Ackley going a combined 6 for 35 (.171) against him.

What to Read Next