Orioles Outslug, Outlast Tribe; Orioles 9, Indians 8
By Robert Toth
Derek Lowe continued his rough month of June and the Baltimore Orioles outslugged the Cleveland Indians Friday night by a final of 9-8.
The Indians jumped on top early against Orioles starter, Jake Arrieta. Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a single to right field. After a fly out from Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis swung at the first pitch he saw and singled the opposite way to left field, and Michael Brantley would knock Choo in from second base with a bloop single to left. It was Brantley’s 35th RBI of the season, and his first as the Tribe’s cleanup hitter.
Not to be outdone, the Orioles would strike right back against the Indians’ Derek Lowe. Brian Roberts reached on an error as Casey Kotchman made a diving stop ranging to his right, but threw the ball behind Lowe at first basE. Roberts would move to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a groundout by Xavier Avery. J. J. Hardy would send what appeared to be a routine grounder to his fielding counterpart Cabrera, but Cabrera had the ball deflect off of the top of his glove, allowing Hardy to reach on the second error of the inning. Roberts scored easily on the play to tie the game at one.
Adam Jones would step to the plate and hit a weak dribbler between home plate and the mound. Lowe would ultimately field the ball, but his sidearm throw to first was not in time to throw out Jones. Wilson Betemit would then golf a 1-2 pitch low and in high off of the wall in right field to score Hardy and move Jones to third. Chris Davis followed with an RBI groundout to Jack Hannahan to make the score 3-1 after one inning.
Leading off the top of the third, Cabrera continued his hot hitting with his 11th home run of the season with his blast over the wall in right, cutting the Indians’ deficit to 3-2.
The Indians would send nine men to the plate in the top of the fourth, but the Orioles should have been out of the inning far sooner. After a leadoff single by Kotchman, Lonnie Chisenhall would send a fly ball to right center field. Right fielder Ryan Flaherty and center Fielder Jones would converge on the play and the ball would drop between the two of them.
The Tribe would cash in on the Orioles’ blunder after a Hannahan strikeout. Lou Marson singled right back up the middle to load the bases for leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo. Choo walked on five pitches to force in the tying run to knot the game back up at three. Cabrera hit a bullet to the Orioles’ Roberts, who made the catch and a quick throw back to first trying to double-up Choo, but first baseman Betemit could not get back to the bag in time to beat the diving Choo. It would turn out to be a key play in the inning, as the next man up, Jason Kipnis, would drive in a pair with a liner up the middle that forced second base umpire Rob Drake to leap into the air to hurdle the ball.
Kipnis’s hit would run Orioles’ starter Jake Arrieta, who was roughed up by the Indians. He did not make it out of the fourth inning, retiring just two and leaving with runners on the corners and trailing 5-3. Arrieta allowed five earned runs via eight hits and two walks. He struck out one.
The Orioles unloaded for a quick three-spot off the bat of catcher Matt Wieters in the bottom of the sixth to retake the lead, 7-5. After back-to-back singles by Betemit and Davis, Wieters erupted on the first pitch of his at bat and crushed his 11th home run of the season onto Eutaw Street. The night would end for Lowe following the very next batter, Flaherty, who would work a walk after being behind in the count, 0-2.
For Lowe, it was the tale of two pitchers. In the first and sixth, the Orioles jumped on him for three runs in each inning. From the second inning through the fifth, he had the Orioles shut down with just one run, two walks, a hit, and two strikeouts. For the game, Lowe allowed seven runs (four earned) on six hits, with three walks and the two strikeouts.
“That first inning cost us,” said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. “Derek threw the ball very well. He cruised the whole night, until [Wieters’ home run].”
The back and forth battle continued on into the seventh, as the Indians would string together three straight hits to get a rally started. Kotchman doubled to deep center field and then scored on a double to left by Shelly Duncan. Duncan, who had pinch-ran for the injured Chisenhall, would score a hit later on a double play ground out by Marson to tie the game up at seven.
The Orioles would respond and reclaim the lead just one-half inning later. After quickly getting two outs, reliever Joe Smith allowed a single to center toDavis, walked Wieters, and gave up a single to right field by Flaherty, scoring Davis with the go-ahead run. The O’s would tack on one more run in the eighth on the first career home run for Avery, a solo blast to left off of Chris Perez.
Baltimore closer Jim Johnson would come on to work the ninth and made things interesting. Duncan led off the inning with a single. After two quick outs, Choo hit a 1-2 single to center to cut the lead to 9-8. But Cabrera would hit a lazy fly to left to end the game. With his 23rd save, Johnson is now tied with the Indians’ Perez for the saves lead amongst all Major League pitchers.
Chisenhall, who had one of the bigger hits in the game in the fourth inning, left the game after being hit by a pitch in the fifth. It was announced that Chisenhall suffered a broken right ulna bone in his right arm and will be placed on the disabled list.
“We had a bad feeling, the ball got him pretty good, pretty square,” said Acta. “He’s going to have to get surgery [to stabilize the bone]. It will probably be four to six weeks minimum. He is going to go back to Cleveland and have surgery next week. Somebody will be here tomorrow.”
Despite getting 16 hits against the Orioles, the Indians stranded a dozen on base. With the loss, Cleveland drops back to the .500 mark at 38-38. The win ends Baltimore’s three-game slide and improves their record to 42-34 on the season. They remain in second place in the AL East behind the New York Yankees.
Josh Tomlin (3-5, 5.70) will make his 12th start of the year and his first since the shortest outing of his career on Monday against the Yankees. Baltimore will counter with left-hander Dana Eveland (0-0, 3.00), who will start just his second game of the season. Eveland, who started in his first appearance of the season on May 11th against Tampa Bay, has worked out of the bullpen since.
First pitch for Saturday afternoon is 4:05 pm ET from Baltimore’s Camden Yards. Follow the action live on SportsTime Ohio and the Cleveland Indians radio network.
Photo: Gail Burton/AP