Justin Masterson pitched a perfect inning on Monday night.
Facing the red-hot Boston Red Sox in the opening game of a home series, Masterson struck out three Red Sox hitters on nine pitches in the top of the fourth inning.
No balls. No foul balls. No balls in play. Just nine pitches and nine strikes.
Not surprisingly, this inning positioned Masterson for a deep and effective outing against the Red Sox. In the end he went seven innings, striking out 10 and giving up only three hits.
Had it not been for the four walks he issued, he might have been able to chase a complete game. Nevertheless, it was an impressive outing and it set up the Indians to snap Boston’s winning streak and extend their own streak to four games.
Masterson will hope that this outing propels him back into the kind of season he was expecting to have. He has been off to a slow start in 2014, only managing to lower his ERA to 4.75 with this victory. It also makes it an interesting time for him to have an achievement around strikeouts, as his K/9 rate is actually down to 7.8 as compared to his 9.1 K/9 mark in 2013.
A free agent after the season, Masterson will need more starts like this one if he’s going to cash in on the open market like many thought he would entering the season after extension talks with the Indians sputtered.
Check out video of the entire inning of work below, courtesy of MLB.com: