Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) — Justin Masterson has never been good against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Friday night, his streak of futility against them continued.
Masterson gave up eight runs and nine hits over 4.1 innings as the Rays bombed the Tribe 10-3 to snap the Indians three-game winning streak. The Indians ace, now 5-8, entered Friday’s game just 1-5 lifetime against Tampa with an ERA over seven.
The eight runs he allowed were one more earned run than he yielded over his previous five starts and 36 innings.
The Indians setback puts them at 43-40 on the season. The Rays improve to 44-40.
You knew it would be a bad night for the Tribe when Luke Scott of the Rays snapped his team-record hitless streak with a two-run homer.
Scott was 0 for 41 since June 1st until connecting against Masterson in the Rays six-run fifth inning. Tampa Bay had scored more than four runs in a game only once in its previous 11 contests.
Alex Cobb (4-5) overcame a shaky start to pitch six innings and win for the second time in seven decisions since May 30th.
Ben Zobrist had a two-run homer, Jose Lobaton a two-run single and Elliot Johnson a two-run double.
Scott struck out his first two times up, moving within five at-bats of the major league record. Eugenio Velez went 46 consecutive hitless at bats in 2010-11.
After B.J. Upton singled with one out in the fifth, Scott drove the first pitch he saw from Masterson to center. He waited almost breathlessly for the towering shot to land. As it did, Michael Brantley tried to make a leaping catch at the wall.
Scott slowed between first and second and, when Brantley came down without the ball, continued his jog around the bases. He kept running to the dugout, where he received happy high-fives from teammates.
Scott went 1 for 5 overall for the Rays, who came in hitting only .209 (73 for 349) and averaging 2.9 runs in going 3-8 since sweeping an interleague doubleheader from Philadelphia on June 24.
The Rays struck quickly against Masterson, who fell to 1-6 with an 11.40 ERA in eight career starts against them.
Desmond Jennings lined the game’s first pitch to center for a single. He scored one out later on Zobrist’s 11th homer on a 3-0 pitch.
Cobb gave the lead right back in the bottom half as Cleveland got three hits and a walk. Travis Hafner grounded into a double play as one run scored and Asdrubal Cabrera went to third. Cabrera broke for home on a 3-2 pitch, then stopped. The move caused Cobb to balk and Cabrera trotted home anyway to tie it at 2.
Lobaton restored the Rays’ lead with a two-run single in the third, breaking his own 1-for-18 slump.
Johnson’s two-run double off reliever Nick Hagadone made it 8-2 in the fifth. Zobrist added a sacrifice fly and Upton an RBI single later in the inning.
Shin-Soo Choo’s RBI single in the bottom half made it 10-3.
The Indians put two runners on in the sixth before Cobb again got Hafner to bounce into a double play. Cobb gave up three runs and six hits overall.
The two teams against battle Saturday with a special start time of 6:05pm. Ubaldo Jimenez (7-7, 4.59) goes up against Matt Moore (5-5, 4.17) for Tampa.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.