Authors: By TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Justin Masterson pitched seven effective innings and the Cleveland Indians snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Masterson (3-6) allowed four hits, struck out nine and ended his own three-game slide. He wriggled out of threats in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
Vinnie Pestano worked the eighth and Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 21st save. He hasn't blown a save since opening day.
Carlos Santana hit an RBI double in the third off James McDonald (5-3) and Michael Brantley extended baseball's longest hitting streak this season to 22 games with a run-scoring single in the eighth.
The Pirates have lost four straight.
Perez, who always seems to make it interesting, gave up a leadoff single in the ninth before getting a fly ball and game-ending double play.
Masterson hadn't won since May 24, when he beat reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander 2-1. Masterson had dropped his previous three outings despite pitching well in two of them. He lost 2-0 in St. Louis in his last start, when he gave up one run in seven innings.
The right-hander had the Pirates flailing at a wicked slider that slid across the plate and out of the strike zone. During one stretch from the second through fourth innings, he recorded seven consecutive outs with strikeouts.
Masterson got into trouble in the fourth when the Pirates loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a single. But the 6-foot-6 Masterson struck out Jose Tabata on one of those filthy sliders to end the threat.
Masterson hasn't gotten much run support - his 2.95 runs per start is the worst in the AL - but his defense backed him up in the sixth.
He gave up a leadoff ground-rule double to Neil Walker, who advanced to third on Andrew McCutchen's groundout. Garrett Jones hit a soft fly to shallow right that second baseman Jason Kipnis ran down with an over-the-shoulder catch. He then spun around and fired a one-hop throw to the plate to keep Walker at third.
Masterson retired Casey McGehee on a grounder to Kipnis to end the inning.
Danger loomed again in the seventh, and this time by Masterson's own wildness. He allowed a one-out walk, hit a batter with two outs and threw a wild pitch. But with runners at second and third, he got Alex Presley on a lazy fly to left and walked to the dugout to a thundering ovation from the Progressive Field crowd.
McDonald was nearly as good as Masterson, allowing one run and three hits in six innings, but lost for just the second time in his last seven decisions.
The Indians used a little luck to take a 1-0 lead in the third on Santana's perfectly placed double.
Asdrubal Cabrera walked with one out, and with two down, he broke for second on a 3-2 pitch that Santana sliced down the third-base line, the ball barely skipping inside the bag and curling toward the tarp. Cabrera never slowed and scored without a throw as Santana scampered into second.
Brantley's single in the eighth off Juan Cruz made it 2-0. Brantley's hitting streak is the majors' longest since Atlanta's Dan Uggla hit in 33 in a row last season.
NOTES: Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton is leaving Saturday morning to see his son, Nick, play for Kent State in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Hamilton, who has been the team's "voice" for 23 seasons, said the Indians "just told me to go" and he'll stay with the Golden Flashes "as long as they're in it." Kent State plays Arkansas in its opener. ... The Indians signed OF Tyler Naquin and RHP Mitch Brown, their respective first- and second-round picks in this month's draft. ... Pirates manager Clint Hurdle gave Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez a warm hug during batting practice. Hurdle was Jimenez's manager in Colorado from 2006-09. ... The Indians lead the interleague series with the Pirates 16-15.