Opening Day starter allows six hits, four walks in two-plus innings
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For both Indians sinkerballer Justin Masterson and Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo, Spring Training came to a close on Wednesday. With Cleveland's 10-3 Cactus League victory over Milwaukee in the books, both pitchers can turn their attention to Opening Day.
Masterson will now use the coming days to prepare for his outing against the A's on Monday in Oakland, his third consecutive Opening Day start for Cleveland. Gallardo's fifth straight opener for the Brewers will be at home against the Braves on Monday.
"We'll definitely be looking over a little bit of video now," Masterson said, "seeing what they've got, seeing exactly what their lineup will potentially be for that Opening Day and just work through it. We'll make our game plan as much as we usually do.
"Aside from that, everything else is roughly the same. We've been great on a five-day routine for the last three or four weeks now, so we can just kind of ride into it and hopefully be at our best."
Masterson looked solid against the Brewers, who were held to one run on three hits in his 5 2/3 innings, during which he had five strikeouts and two walks. In six Cactus League appearances this spring, the big right-hander posted a 1.09 ERA with 25 strikeouts, six walks and three runs allowed in 24 2/3 innings.
Milwaukee's lone breakthrough against Masterson came in the fourth inning, when Jonathan Lucroy reached on a fielder's choice and later crossed the plate on a base hit from Lyle Overbay.
Gallardo had a more troublesome outing for the Brewers, surrendering four runs on six hits and four walks in just two-plus innings against the Indians. The right-hander was lifted from the contest after facing three batters in the third inning, and he twirled his glove in the air as he walked off the mound. Once he reached the dugout, Gallardo tossed his cap on the bench.
"The last start of spring, you never want that to happen," Gallardo said. "But I guess if it's going to happen, better to have it happen in spring than during the season. I felt good in the bullpen, ball was coming out good. Honestly, I think it was the best I've felt the ball coming out of my hand. I tried to do too much."
Michael Brantley, who has hit .522 in 16 games this spring, delivered a two-run triple in the first inning. One frame later, Lonnie Chisenhall lifted a pitch from Gallardo deep to right-center field for a solo home run to put the Brewers behind, 3-0. Asdrubal Cabrera chased Gallardo from the game with an RBI single in the third.
"They've got some pretty good hitters in that lineup," Gallardo said, "and you can't make mistakes with runners on. After a while, I was overthinking things, trying to do too much mechanics-wise. It's over, and now you have to focus on the start on Monday."
Indians All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis added a two-run double in the fourth inning, and first baseman Nick Swisher belted a leadoff home run in the sixth.
"We made some bad pitches today," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, refusing to blame the breezy conditions. "They hit some ground balls through us, too, but they squared up a lot of balls. All of our pitchers were up in the zone. [Will] Smith, in his second inning, was nice and down, but other than that we were out of whack."
In the eighth inning, the Brewers' Mitch Haniger led off with a home run against Vinnie Pestano, who will begin the season in Cleveland's bullpen.
Masterson has been pleased with what he has seen this spring from the Indians, who improved to 18-8-2 in Cactus League play.
"The team looks like we're having fun," Masterson said. "Hopefully we can carry that into Game 1. We still have a couple exhibitions left, but I'm pretty excited about what we have going."
Up next:Kyle Lohse will take the mound Thursday for what is typically a fast and furious Arizona finale, as the Brewers host the Reds in the final spring game at Maryvale Baseball Park before they board a flight to Milwaukee. It will be Lohse's final tuneup before his regular-season debut against Atlanta on Tuesday at Miller Park. Thursday's game will be available on MLB.TV.