CLEVELAND — Following his outing on Sunday, Justin Masterson, in his typical light-hearted tone, referred to himself as a "big dummy" and a "fool."
Suffice it to say, the right-hander did not put an end to the Indians' starting pitching woes.
The Indians are hurting for quality starts. If Masterson can't provide them, which Tribe pitcher can?
Granted, the Indians are six tilts into a 162-game slate.
Masterson lasted only 3⅔ innings on Sunday as Cleveland dropped the rubber match of its three-game set against the Twins, 10-7, at Progressive Field.
"I'm like, 'Let's do this, do this, make some athletic adjustments,'" Masterson said. "It didn't work. 'I'm still doing the same thing. Come on, you big dummy.'"
Masterson limited Oakland to three hits over seven scoreless frames on opening day. Since, the five Indians starters have combined for a 7.66 ERA over 22⅓ innings. In that stretch, the group has surrendered 21 runs (19 earned) on 35 hits and 15 walks.
Minnesota tagged Masterson for six runs (five earned) on seven hits. The burly right-hander issued three free passes and plunked a pair of Twins hitters.
Masterson heaved 97 pitches before he exited in the fourth.
"That's an indication right there that it wasn't easy," said manager Terry Francona.
The Indians' offense clawed back throughout the chilly afternoon, but Chris Colabello broke a 6-6 tie with a three-run double off Blake Wood in the sixth. Cleveland couldn't recover.
Yan Gomes erased a 2-0 deficit with a two-run round-tripper into the left-field bleachers. Jason Kipnis delivered a three-run double off the green padding on the left-field wall to trim the Twins' lead to 6-5 in the sixth and David Murphy — who tallied four hits in five at-bats — knotted the game in the following inning with an RBI double.
"It was a good showing," Murphy said. "We know what we're capable of. That was more like it today.
"Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us, but it was a great showing and hopefully we can build some momentum from there."
Wood couldn't keep the contest in a deadlock. The hard-throwing righty loaded the bases with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Colabello roped a 95-mph fastball to left-center.
"Trying to get out of there with none and giving up multiple runs," Francona said, "that hurts, because we had just clawed back into it."
The abbreviated outing marked the fifth consecutive game in which an Indians hurler failed to go six innings. In Oakland, Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister lasted only 3⅓ and four innings, respectively. The Indians will turn to those two and Danny Salazar — who held the Twins to two runs in 5⅔ innings on Friday — for a three-game series against the Padres that begins today.
Francona admitted the early returns haven't been ideal.
Those returns, though, are, in fact, early.
"I don't think we get discouraged that easily," Francona said. "I think we're always trying to get better. That's for sure.
"This is Masty's second time pitching. The first time out, he was pretty good. He wasn't as good today.