Shaky Start and Solid Finish Get Tribe Win; Indians 6, Orioles 5
By Mike Brandyberry
What started as a shaky start by Josh Tomlin, was finished by another dominant performance by the bullpen, giving the Indians a 6-5 victory over the struggling Baltimore Orioles. The game was a tale of two stories, with both starters, Tomlin and Jake Arrieta, failing to keep the ball in the park.
The Indians jumped on top early in the top of the second inning when Matt LaPorta had a two out base hit to right field to score Grady Sizemore, but Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold each hit solo home runs in the bottom half of the inning to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead.
Asdrubal Cabrera answered back with a two run home run in the top of the third. Asdrubal’s home run was his sixteenth on the season and second in as many nights. However, Tomlin allowed Adam Jones to double home Nick Markakis, and the Orioles tied the game at three, after three.
In the fifth inning, Sizemore gave the Tribe the lead again, with a two run home run, only to have Jones answer back in the bottom half of the inning with a two run shot of his own. Tomlin, who is normally a fly ball pitcher, suffered mightily in the summer heat and the small Camden Yards ballpark. He allowed three home runs, five runs, on six hits, in only five innings of work.
After Matt LaPorta doubled to left to start the sixth inning, Lonnie Chisenhall laced a base hit to right field to score him and take the lead. Despite Michael Brantley following with a hit, Chisenhall made two very poor decisions on the bases to run the team out of a potential big inning, but the Tribe lead 6-5. Brantley, who needed the All-Star break to rest some nagging injuries, had another nice game with three hits.
After five shaky innings, the Bullpen Mafia entered the game and did what they normally do, close. Chad Durbin and Rafael Perez worked the sixth before giving way to Joe Smith for another scoreless seventh inning. Smith now has an ERA of 0.80.Vinnie Pestano worked a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two. After a leadoff walk, Chris Perez recorded the last three outs and the Indians had their second win in as many games after the All-Star break. The bullpen worked the final four innings, not allowing a hit. Josh Tomlin earned his eleventh victory of the season. The victory, combined with Detroit’s 8-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox, lands the Indians back in sole possession of first place in the AL Central.
The Tribe sends Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 4.28) to the mound on Saturday evening against Alfredo Simon (1-2, 4.85). Considering the Indians have taken the first two games of the four game set against the struggling Orioles, the Tribe needs to take no less than three of four in the series.