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Ryu piles up K's, but Dodgers' bats stymied

Starter strikes out five, charged with two runs over three-plus innings

Ryu piles up K's, but Dodgers' bats stymied

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians sinkerballer Justin Masterson set the tone on Wednesday, spinning four shutout innings to pave the way for a 4-0 Cactus League victory over the Dodgers at Goodyear Ballpark.

Masterson, who is scheduled to make his second straight Opening Day start for Cleveland this season, put his signature two-seam fastball on display. Los Angeles pounded the pitch into the ground en route to nine outs via ground balls, including three double plays.

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That brought a smile to Masterson's face.

"We had a bunch of double plays," Masterson said. "The ball was on the ground. A couple base hits. I mixed in a few sliders today and was around the zone. It was more or less where we want to be this early in spring."

Masterson finished with three hits scattered and three strikeouts, giving the right-hander six strikeouts and no walks in 7 2/3 innings this spring. Cleveland's infield turned a double play in the first, second and fourth innings to help the starter escape some minor jams unscathed.

"I thought [Masterson] set the tone for a really good day," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I thought all around today was our best day. We were crisp, even from the cutoff relays to scoring. Masty came in and stayed down, threw strikes, got double plays. I felt like maybe we got our legs back."

Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu -- signed to a six-year contract worth $36 million over the offseason -- held the Indians to two runs on three hits in three-plus innings. Ryu piled up five strikeouts, including three consecutive called strikeouts to Ryan Rohlinger, Drew Stubbs and Jason Kipnis in a swift third inning.

"Everything kind of worked for me, including control, command of the pitches," Ryu said through an interpreter. I was able to execute pitches. Not only the fastball, but other pitches as well."

Cleveland broke through for two runs in the fourth inning, when Mark Reynolds led off with a double and Yan Gomes followed with a base hit. At that point, Los Angeles turned to reliever Matt Palmer, who allowed a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Jason Giambi and an RBI single to Matt Carson.

In the fifth inning, Palmer walked Kipnis and then made a pair of throwing errors on pickoff attempts, allowing pinch-runner Nate Spears to easily advance to third base. Gomes then came through with an RBI single and Giambi contributed a run-scoring single of his own, helping the Indians to a 4-0 advantage.

Up next for the Dodgers: The Dodgers host the Texas Rangers on Thursday, live on MLB.TV at 12:05 p.m. PT, with Chad Billingsley scheduled to start, Josh Beckett pitching in a Minor League game and Zack Greinke's status uncertain after he was scratched from Wednesday's start with the flu. If Greinke pitches, he will be limited to 45 throws because he was bothered by minor forearm stiffness on Sunday.

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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