Created on Monday, 17 March 2014 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Justin Masterson was so good Sunday that he hit the bullpen for more work after his spring outing was over.
Masterson struck out eight in five scoreless innings, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs in a split-squad game.
"It's nice to see the ball sinking, and the slider sliding pretty good," he said.
Masterson allowed two hits and walked none. He is slated to start on opening day.
Masterson's breezy outing seemed so effortless that manager Terry Francona had the right-hander throw a simulated inning in the bullpen when he was done facing the Cubs.
"He's just building." Francona said. "You see a little bit more power to the fastball. He's got three more starts, and he'll be ready to go."
Masterson has yet to allow an earned run this spring. He avoided many of the Cubs regulars, but he said the unfamiliar lineup also presented its own challenge.
"I have to make the adjustment off how they swing, make the adjustment off what they do with any given pitch, then the next time they come up remember that and make the adjustment," he said.
"In that sense, it challenges you quite a bit."
Carlos Santana had a solo homer and a double for Cleveland.
Chen-Chang Lee picked up a hard-earned save. He had to deal with a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the ninth after Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor booted a double-play ball.
Lee got another double-play ball, this one turned successfully by Lindor, and the Indians got out of the inning with just one run allowed.
"I thought he kept his wits about him real well," Francona said.
Luis Valbuena went 2 for 3 with a double for the Cubs.
The game drew a sellout crowd announced at 14,918, a near-Cactus League record.
Cubs: The Indians got to Travis Wood for two runs and three hits in the first inning. But the left-hander rebounded with four scoreless innings after the shaky start.
Wood allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked none.
"Things were working out pretty well out there for me today," he said. "I was able to locate the fastball and get ahead and go to work after that."
Wood made the All-Star team and finished with a 9-12 record and a 3.11 ERA. He said he will use his remaining spring starts "to tune everything up before it actually gets going," and he is confident heading into the season.
"Last year has a lot to do with it," he said. "I was able to have a pretty solid season through and through. I took that into spring, and it's been going well for me so far."
PASS ON REPLAY
Replay was in use for the game. But only one call was close, and Francona passed on a challenge.
Valbuena doubled home Junior Lake for the Cubs' first run in the sixth inning. The play at the plate "was pretty close," said Francona, who talked it over with home-plate umpire Doug Eddings.
But Francona said they had a pretty good look at it and it was the right call.
Veteran Jeff Francoeur had a two-run double for the Indians. He is trying to make the team as a non-roster invitee.
"This is probably the first time he's been in this position," Francona said.
"With that comes some anxiety. I completely understand that."
Cubs reliever James Russell, who has been dealing with "little bit of a dead arm" this spring, sailed through a scoreless seventh inning.
It was Russell's second outing of the spring. He allowed a run in one inning in his previous appearance.