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Masterson falters, Indians' bats steal show

Masterson falters, Indians' bats steal show play video for Masterson falters, Indians' bats steal show

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- A handful of long home runs by the Indians and the White Sox overshadowed a battle of rotation leaders on Friday afternoon.

Cleveland sinkerballer Justin Masterson and Chicago lefty Chris Sale -- the probable Opening Day starter for each club -- squared off at the onset of a 9-7 Cactus League victory for the Indians. It was the offense that stole the show with five combined home runs.

White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo got things started in the second inning, when he crushed a hanging sinker from Masterson deep to left field. The baseball sailed beyond the wall and kept going -- over lawn seats, a walkway and the stadium's outer fence -- for a monstrous solo home run.

"He swings hard," Masterson said. "I just got underneath quite a few sinkers. That was about it. The four-seamer was good, and I threw a couple good changeups. Every single hit was a sinker. A couple of them were actually kind of rise balls."

Masterson was charged with four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings, during which he struck out two and walked none. Two batters after Viciedo's blast, Chicago third baseman Brent Morel added a two-run shot to left-center field that pushed the Indians into a 3-0 hole.

White Sox catcher Hector Gimenez added an RBI single off Masterson in the third.

"He only went fastball and changeup today," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Masterson. "He wanted to kind of force himself to throw his changeup, which is good. He got under some pitches that he got up and got whacked. When he was down, he was really good. Good sink. Swing-and-miss sink. That was really encouraging."

Sale, who finished sixth in balloting for the American League Cy Young Award last season, turned in 2 1/3 shutout innings for the White Sox. The left-hander scattered two hits and ended with three strikeouts and one walk.

The Indians broke through with four runs in the fourth inning against Minor League right-hander Erik Johnson. Cleveland churned out four consecutive two-out hits, capped off by a three-run home run by outfielder Matt Carson.

Chicago shortstop Marcus Semien added a three-run home run in the sixth inning against Tribe lefty David Huff, who is competing for a spot in either the rotation or bullpen. Semien's shot was equaled in the home half of the sixth, when Indians first baseman Mike McDade launched a three-run homer of his own off Leyson Septimo, giving the Indians an 8-7 advantage.

Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir -- a non-roster invitee vying for a spot at the back end of the rotation -- held the White Sox in check over two shutout innings. Kazmir allowed a leadoff single to Jordan Danks in the fourth inning before retiring the next six hitters he faced in order. The lefty struck out three batters in a row between the fourth and fifth innings.

"He's interesting," Francona said. "There's not a lot of effort and the ball is coming out really nice. That's a good combination. It makes it a heck of a lot easier to locate, and he's getting a lot of swings and misses with his fastball."

Up next for Indians: Tribe right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will look to build off his spring debut on Saturday, when he takes the hill for a three-inning outing in a 3:05 p.m. ET tilt against the Padres at Goodyear Ballpark. In his first Cactus League appearance, Jimenez turned in two shutout innings against Oakland. Other pitchers slated to appear for the Indians are relievers Matt Albers, Rich Hill, Bryan Shaw and Scott Barnes. The game can be heard on WTAM 1100 AM and the Indians Radio Network.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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