3/16/2014 6:34 P.M. ET
Masterson mows down Cubs
Tribe righty strikes out eight in five scoreless innings
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- Justin Masterson and Travis Wood certainly didn't pitch like it was only March 16. The two starting pitchers were in midseason form as the Indians topped the Cubs, 3-2, on Sunday.
Both pitchers struck out eight over five innings, but Masterson was just a bit sharper. The Tribe right-hander held the Cubs scoreless and allowed only two hits and a hit batter.
"Overall, decent command," Masterson said of his outing. "Sometimes a little effectively wild in the zone, but progressive. Moving along in the right direction."
Cleveland plated two in the first off Wood, who then settled in to retire 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced. The only hit he allowed during that time was a slow chopper that sneaked under the glove of third baseman Chris Valaika.
"I'm ready [for the regular season] now," said Wood, who threw another 20-25 pitches in the bullpen after his outing. "Once it's to this point of spring, you're out there throwing five innings, and you feel good. I've got a few more to tune everything up before it actually gets going."
The Indians opened the scoring with a two-run double by Jeff Francoeur that plated Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana, who had reached on hits earlier in the frame. Santana later added a home run in the top of the sixth, his second of the spring.
For the Cubs, Brett Jackson and Luis Valbuena doubled off Masterson in the third and fourth innings, respectively. But the Indians' Opening Day starter stranded them both at third base.
Chicago got on the board in the sixth when Valbuena doubled home Junior Lake, who scored on a nifty slide to the outside of the plate. Indians manager Terry Francona came on to the field and appeared ready to challenge the call, but after a brief discussion with home-plate umpire Doug Eddings, he returned to the dugout.
Up next: After two split-squad road outings on Sunday, the Tribe will return to Goodyear Ballpark on Monday to take on the Reds at 4:05 p.m. ET. The game will give the Indians another opportunity to test out MLB's new instant-replay system, and will be available live on MLB.TV and via an exclusive free audio webcast. Right-hander Corey Kluber is scheduled to face off against Reds righty Mike Leake, with John Axford and Josh Outman among the Cleveland relievers scheduled to throw.