Tribe Takes Control Early; Indians 8, Orioles 4
By Mike Brandyberry
The Cleveland Indians hopefully started their second half of the season like they started the first half, by jumping out to a hot start, defeating the Baltimore Orioles, 8-4. Justin Masterson, who has been moved to the front of the Indians rotation, had another strong start.
Asdrubal Cabrera wasted no time getting the Indians on top when he hit a solo home run to right field in the top of the first inning. Travis Hafner walked and Carlos Santana followed with a two-run home run to right center field and it was 3-0 Tribe after only four hitters. Santana doubled home Michael Brantley in the third inning to make it 4-0 early. Santana was 2-5, with three RBIs, for the game. Santana is a player who needs to pick up his offensive production in the second half if the Indians offense is going to come to life.
The Indians were only a couple plays away from blowing the game open early. With a 4-0 lead, the bases loaded, and one out, Orlando Cabrera grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Then in the bottom half of the inning, after a walk and a base hit, Masterson threw a wild pitch to advance the runners to scoring position before Nick Markakis looped a base hit to shallow left field and score both runners to make the score, 4-2 after three innings.
In the sixth inning, Travis Buck hit a sacrifice fly to score Grady Sizemore, then two-out base hits by Brantley, Asdrubal and Hafner each plated a run and the Tribe took control of the game, 8-2. The Orioles answered right back in the sixth with back to back doubles by Matt Wieters and Derrek Lee, then Lee scored on Blake Davis’s base hit, cutting the score to 8-4. Masterson struck out the side in the sixth and ended his evening.
Enter the Bullpen Mafia. After scoreless innings by Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Tony Sipp, the victory was complete. Smith has not allowed a run in his last 24 and two-thirds innings, spanning over 26 appearances. The three relievers combined did not allow a hit and struck out five. Sipp struck out the side in the ninth. The victory is starts a stretch of 14 of 17 games for the Indians where they play teams with losing records.
With the Tigers idle for the evening, the Tribe moved into a tie for first place in the American League Central. Josh Tomlin (10-4, 3.81) will match up with Jake Arrieta (9-6, 4.90) in Friday’s contest, as they hope to keep pace with Detroit.