Cleveland Indians Move into First Place with Sweep of Cincinnati Reds

Professor BushCorrespondent IIIJune 21, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 20: Catcher Lou Marson #6 celebrates with starting pitcher Justin Masterson #63 of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians defeated the Cincinnati Reds during interleague play at Progressive Field on June 20, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Reds 8-1 to sweep the series. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians completed a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with an 8-1 victory Wednesday and moved into first place in the AL Central.

Just last week their intra-state rival swept them in Cincinnati, and now the Tribe has returned the favor.

The final game of the series featured a complete-game three-hitter from Justin Masterson. The only run he allowed was unearned.

Masterson was supported by home runs from Johnny Damon and Asdrubal Cabrera off of the Reds' starter Bronson Arroyo. Perhaps Damon's two RBI and two runs scored might be the start of a turn-around for the struggling veteran. His continued presence on the team despite a dismal batting average has been questioned in many circles.

Cabrera was the hero in the second game of the series with his tenth-inning walk-off home run off of the Reds' bullpen ace Aroldis Chapman.

The Tribe's Josh Tomlin and the Reds' Mike Leaked hooked up in a pitchers' duel for seven innings. Both bullpens did their job in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Reds took advantage of two wild pitches by Nick Hagadone to score a run in the top of the tenth inning to take the lead. In the bottom of the tenth, Cabrera's dramatic home run with Shin-Soo Choo aboard gave the Tribe the 2-1 win. 

The Tribe won the first game of the series in a 10-9 slugfest. Neither starting pitcher was effective. Both Derek Lowe and Mat Latos gave up seven earned runs. The eighth and ninth inning tandem of Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez preserved the victory for The Tribe.

The sweep of a division leader certainly solidifies the hopes that the Indians can win their own division. Does this mean that the team might be looking to add a few missing pieces of the puzzle to strengthen the team?

Will they add a right-handed bat to give the team a better balance? Will they acquire a starting pitcher? Can they outbid larger market teams for Ryan Dempster?

It should be a very interesting next month or so for the Tribe.