ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
CLEVELAND — Justin Masterson yelled out two and got three outs.
Masterson pitched seven solid innings and yelled instructions to his teammates during the majors' first triple play of the season, helping the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1 on Sunday for their first win.
"I was thinking double play in that situation, but I'll take three outs on one pitch," he said. "I thought for a moment and yelled, 'Two, two, two,' meaning to throw it to second base too."
Orlando Cabrera assisted on the game-changing play in the fourth inning and hit a two-run homer off John Danks (0-1) in the sixth to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead — its first advantage in 24 innings this year against the White Sox.
"You don't win or lose a division in the first week or even the first month," Cabrera said after Cleveland avoided a three-game sweep. "But getting that first win is always huge. The triple play got us going."
Carlos Santana started the triple play in his first major league game at first base. Santana, normally a catcher, made a diving catch on Alexei Ramirez's bunt with two runners in motion. He threw to first to double off A.J. Pierzynski. Second baseman Orlando Cabrera took the throw and tossed to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to catch Carlos Quentin off second base.
"It was an amazing play by Carlos," Orlando Cabrera said.
It was Cleveland's first triple play since Asdrubal Cabrera's unassisted one against Toronto on May 12, 2008. Chicago had not hit into a triple play since April 22, 1978, at Toronto.
"The game changed with the bunt," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It totally changed. If we put the ball down with the bunt, maybe it's a different ballgame.
"Everybody was hung out to dry. I didn't know what to do. I was screaming from the bench, but I don't know what I was saying."
Masterson (1-0) allowed one run and seven hits. Two of the hits were singles by former Cleveland star shortstop Omar Vizquel, giving him 2,801 for his career.
Masterson recorded 16 outs on ground balls. The right-hander walked two and did not strike out a batter.
"I'll take groundouts any day," Masterson said.
Tony Sipp pitched the eighth and Chris Perez finished for Cleveland, which was outscored 23-13 in the first two games of the series.
"As usual, it was about pitching," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Justin did a tremendous job. He threw 17 out of 29 first-pitch strikes and got a lot of guys to put that sinker on the ground."
The attendance of 8,726 was the lowest for a game at Progressive Field, which opened in 1994. It was 1,127 fewer than the previous low on Saturday.
Paul Konerko hit an RBI single in the third inning for Chicago.
Cabrera's homer, his first since signing with Cleveland as a free agent this winter, gave the Indians their first lead of the season. Cleveland fell behind 14-0 on Friday before falling 15-10, then lost 8-3 on Saturday.
The Indians added two more in the seventh. Lou Marson hit an RBI double off Will Ohman and Asdrubal Cabrera delivered a sacrifice fly.
Pinch-hitter Shelley Duncan hit a two-run single off Matt Thornton in Cleveland's three-run eighth.
Danks struck out eight in six effective innings, yielding two runs and six hits with one walk.
NOTES: Cleveland released minor league OF Preston Mattingly, son of Dodgers manager and former Yankees star Don Mattingly. ... Danks had visited a dentist on Saturday with a root canal problem, but insisted on starting. ... Indians OF Grady Sizemore (left knee surgery in June) and RHP Joe Smith (abdominal strain) are on the disabled list, but will play in an exhibition game Monday in Akron between two Cleveland farm teams. ... Chicago has scored 20 of its 24 runs in the first four innings this year.