(SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Masterson returns to the hill for the Cleveland Indians after his strongest start of the year, as he takes on the Texas Rangers in the third contest of a four-game set at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Masterson blanked Boston in seven innings Monday, which ended his personal three-game losing streak. He'll look to duplicate that success after his team swept the defending champion Red Sox.
The native of Kingston, Jamaica, went seven innings against Boston and surrendered just three hits and struck out 10 batters - his season high - in the eventual 3-2 Cleveland win. The performance dropped his earned run average down to 4.72 on the season.
"In the first three innings he usually runs into some tough spots," manager Terry Francona said. "He kind of flipped it tonight. Boy, did he ever. You looked up in the third inning and thought, 'OK, we got the lead, but we're going to be in the bullpen early.' He got us pretty deep."
Masterson enters the start with Texas at 3-4 on the season in 13 starts with 68 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings pitched.
Texas will send out Joe Saunders to try and counter Masterson. Saunders lasted six innings Tuesday against the Orioles - his longest outing in 2014 - but gave up 10 hits and two earned runs in the 8-3 Baltimore win. He was not credited with the loss, though, which makes it two no-decisions in a row for the 32-year-old lefty.
Saunders is 0-1 on the season with a 3.68 ERA and 12 strikeouts to six walks. His last start was the only one he's made in Arlington this year. Against Cleveland, Saunders has made eight career starts for a 2-2 record and has accumulated a 4.24 ERA.
The Indians sought revenge for Friday night's Rangers victory with an 8-3 win Saturday afternoon. Yan Gomes broke a 1-1 tie in the the sixth inning with a three-run homer he smashed off Texas starter Nick Tepesch, who was credited with the loss.
Josh Tomlin pitched well for the Indians, going eight innings and giving up three runs and seven hits with five strikeouts.
"I'd like to get the complete game, don't get me wrong," Tomlin said following the victory. "I'm more happy we got the win."
The Indians have won seven of their last eight.