CLEVELAND (AP) - Justin Masterson blanked New York's vaunted lineup, only allowing Derek Jeter to move one rung closer to 3,000 career hits.
He couldn't have done it without Asdrubal Cabrera.
Masterson pitched eight shutout innings and Cabrera, the Indians' All-Star shortstop, made two stunning defensive plays to help his starter as Cleveland beat the Yankees 5-3 on Wednesday night, taking two of three games in the series between two of the AL's division leaders.
Playing on a sprained ankle, Cabrera still managed to make two plays in the eighth that left almost everyone at Progressive Field breathless.
``Nothing he does surprises me,' Masterson said. ``It never gets old.'
Jeter got his 2,997th hit, lining a double in three at_bats against Masterson (7-6). The righty allowed three hits, struck out six, walked two and got just his second win since April 26.
New York's lefties went 0-for-19 against Masterson, whose major weakness has been his inability to deal with left-handers. They came in batting .306 against him.
``His stuff was some of the best we've seen,' Jeter said. ``He was throwing 95, 96 all night with movement. He pitched outstanding.'
Indiana manager Manny Acta was more effusive in his praise.
``The night belonged to Masterson,' he said. ``He was unhittable.'
Masterson, though, had to rely on Cabrera to get him through the eighth.
Hitless in his first three appearances, Jeter doubled with one out in the eighth. He went to third on a sharp grounder that Cabrera ran down on the first-base side of second, spun and threw out the speedy Curtis Granderson. Cabrera, who almost didn't play because of a sprained right ankle, wasn't done.
With the Indians shifting right for left-hander Mark Teixeira, Cabrera went even farther into short right field before making a sliding stop of a hard-hit grounder. He popped to his feet and threw out Teixeira, punctuating his second defensive gem in minutes by pumping his fist.
``He proved his ankle's fine,' Acta said. ``Both of them were great, especially the (Teixeira) play. This guy's been darn good for us.'
Cabrera rolled his ankle on Tuesday after making a leaping throw. Despite the injury, Acta said it was almost going to be impossible to keep the 25-year-old out.
``He wasn't going to take a day off,' Acta said. ``He was texting me all the way through the night telling me that he was ready, where he was going to hit and where he was going to play, too.'
The eighth behind them, the Indians turned it over to their normally reliable bullpen in the ninth. But reliever Vinnie Pestano couldn't finish it out and gave up three runs before closer Chris Perez came on and got his 21st save, striking out Brett Gardner for the final out with Jeter nearby.
He was on deck - just as he is for 3,000.
Rookie Lonnie Chisenhall hit his first career homer for Cleveland. The Central-leading Indians scored two runs in the first off starter Phil Hughes (0-2), but spent most of the night wasting scoring chances. They left the bases loaded twice and stranded 13 runners.
Jeter's quest to become the 28th major leaguer - and first purebred pinstriper - to reach 3,000 will resume on Thursday night against Tampa Bay at Yankee Stadium, his professional home since 1995. The famed ballparks, both the new and old versions, have never hosted any player getting his 3,000th hit.
Jeter would be the first, perhaps fitting for the only player to reach the milestone having spent his entire career as a member of the Yankees.
Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio and Berra didn't get nearly as close as Jeter, the team's career hits leader and one of the most popular players in history. And now, he's just three solid swings from standing alone among the Yankees' legion of Hall of Fame sluggers.
``I'm looking forward to it,' Jeter said of his return to the big ballyard in the Bronx. ``I wanted more today, but that wasn't the case. I'm definitely looking forward to going back to New York. Our fans have always been pretty good when they have an opportunity to witness something that hasn't happened.
``They care a lot about the history of the organization, so I would anticipate them being animated. I don't know, but I probably think it will be kind of fun.'
Jeter came in 5 for 12 in his career against Masterson, but went 0 for 2 with a strikeout and walk before his 479th career double, a Jeter-esque shot on an inside-out swing to right field.
Hughes was in trouble right away - some of it his doing, some of it by others.
He walked leadoff hitter Michael Brantley in the first and Cabrera, who left Tuesday night's game in the fourth inning when he rolled his ankle, singled. Travis Hafner followed with an RBI single before Hughes struck out Carlos Santana on a ball in the dirt that got away from catcher Russell Martin.
Cabrera broke for third on the play, and Martin's throw was wide of the bag, scoring Cleveland's second run.
Chisenhall's homer made it 3-0 in seventh, and the Indians added two in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk and Grady Sizemore's sacrifice fly.
Sizemore also made a nice defensive play in the fifth, robbing Nick Swisher of extra bases with a leaping grab at the wall in right-center.
NOTES: Masteron has allowed just one earned in his last 22 2-3 innings, lowering his ERA to 2.66. ... OF Austin Kearns got his second career sacrifice bunt in 10 seasons and first since 2006. ... The Indians will call up former Yankees minor league RHP Zach McAllister to start Thursday against Toronto. McAllister came over last season in a trade for Kearns, who wound up re-signing with the Indians. ... The series drew 102,702, Cleveland's largest three-day weekday total since July 23-25, 2007, vs. Boston.
The Associated Press News Service
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