GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians sinkerballer Justin Masterson will see plenty of the White Sox during the upcoming season. If Thursday afternoon was any kind of indication, Chicago's hitters will be just fine if their meetings are few and far between.
As he continues to build up for his Opening Day start for Cleveland, Masterson held the White Sox hitless over four innings during a 12-3 Cactus League victory at Goodyear Ballpark. The right-hander chuckled when asked if he could have completed the no-hit bid.
"No, not today," Masterson said. "That probably would've been way past my pitch count. But it was good. We were mixing and matching pitches. I worked a lot of changeups in. Threw some things at times I wouldn't necessarily throw. We just mixed and matched.
"They're a familiar group of guys that I'm going to see four, five or six times during the season. So you just kind of feel it out and make sure you get your work in and not get overly consumed with who's at the plate."
In his first two outings of Spring Training, Masterson surrendered seven runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. He was much sharper against Chicago, striking out four and inducing five outs via ground balls while facing the minimum. Masterson walked one, but quickly erased the baserunner with an inning-ending double play in the third.
"[Masterson] set the tone early," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He got through four innings with no hits and less than 60 pitches. He was just overpowering. He was able to mix his pitches well on just his fourth outing in spring. We're very happy."
Masterson threw 55 pitches, including 33 for strikes.
It was not until Masterson exited the game that the White Sox (3-9) were able to rally against the Indians (4-7-3). In the fifth inning, former Cleveland outfielder Kosuke Fukudome singled and later scored when Dan Johnson delivered an RBI single off Tribe reliever Frank Herrmann. Chicago added two runs in the sixth -- highlighted by A.J. Pierzynski's solo home run off Cleveland righty Dan Wheeler. The long ball was the first of the spring for Pierzynski.
The Indians struck for one run against White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod, who is vying for a spot in Chicago's bullpen. In the second inning, Russ Canzler singled up the middle and later crossed the plate on a base hit from Ryan Spilborghs. Axelrod was charged with one run on three hits over three innings, during which he struck out two.
Cleveland pushed its lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning, when Carlos Santana led off with a double against Chicago right-hander Zach Stewart. On a one-out single by Canzler, an error by White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo allowed Santana to score from second base. Spilborghs then brought Canzler home again with another run-scoring single.
In the home half of the sixth inning, Shelley Duncan, who is in the mix for Cleveland's opening in left field, put the Indians back on top with a deep blast to straightaway center field off Jhan Marinez. The two-run home run -- Duncan's third shot of Spring Training -- plated catcher Luke Carlin and put the Indians ahead, 5-3.
The Tribe continued to pile on the runs, scoring a combined nine times in the sixth and seventh innings.
Up next: The battle for the fifth spot in the Indians' rotation continues on Friday, when the Tribe heads to Tempe, Ariz., to take on the Angels in a 4:05 p.m. ET tilt. Kevin Slowey and David Huff -- two of the four candidates for the only opening in Cleveland's starting staff -- are slated to appear against the Halos. The game can be heard on Indians.com.