Cleveland Rocked as Baltimore Blasts Lowe; Orioles 10, Indians 2
By Bob Toth
The only fireworks for Cleveland Friday night were during the post-game Rock N’ Blast display, as Baltimore jumped all over Derek Lowe and defeated the Indians, 10-2.
The Indians continued to struggle in clutch situations and could not seem to figure outBaltimorestarter Miguel Gonzalez (2-1). In just his third start and sixth appearance of the season, the 28-year-old rookie worked out of an early jam in the first inning and settled in after the O’s offense erupted.
The Orioles scored the game’s first run on a two-out wild pitch by Lowe in the first. J.J. Hardy doubled to left center with one out and moved to third base on a groundout by Jim Thome. Cleanup hitter Adam Jones worked the count full and Lowe missed with the payoff pitch low and away, the ball skipping past catcher Carlos Santana and going all the way to the backstop, scoring Hardy easily from third.
The Indians would get the run right back in the bottom half of the inning. After a flyout to left by Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera continued hit recent hot hitting. On a 2-1 pitch by Gonzalez, Cabrera sent a drive to the seats in right field to tie the game at 1-1. It was the 12th home run of the year for Cabrera, which leads the team.
After Cabrera’s home run in the first, Gonzalez gave up a double to Jason Kipnis before retiring Michael Brantley. He loaded the bases with a five-pitch walk to Santana and a hit-by-pitch versus Travis Hafner, but got Johnny Damon to ground out to end the inning.
Gonzalez would leave in the seventh, but not before limiting the Indians to just two runs, both earned and coming on the long ball. He gave up seven hits and two walks, but struck out five.
In a previous appearance against the Tribe, Gonzalez worked four and one-third innings out of the bullpen in an Indians’ 6-2 victory. He allowed four hits, three walks, five strikeouts, and just one earned run in that effort and slowed down what had been a productive offense early on in that game.
“Gonzalez was very good,” Indians’ manager Manny Acta said. “We were unable to do anything anyways. He pitched inside very effectively.”
The Orioles ripped the game open by batting around in the third inning, and the damage could have continued if not for two defensive gems. Thome led off the inning hitting his 449th career double, this one off of the Cleveland Clinic sign on the left field wall. He moved to third on a groundout to Kipnis at second for the inning’s first out.
It was at this point that the inning began to slip away from Lowe. Matt Wieters grounded a pitch up the middle. With the defense playing back with the slow-moving Thome on third base, it appeared as though the Indians’ alignment was conceding the run. Instead, ranging far to his left, Cabrera fielded the ball and threw to the plate, skipping it in front of Santana, allowing Thome to score and Wieters to reach safely at first.
Wilson Betemit would instantly make the Indians pay, doubling off the base of the wall in left-center, moving Wieters to third. Chris Davis was intentionally walked to load the bases for a double-play possibility, but Mark Reynolds doubled off of the wall in left, pushing two more runs across for the Orioles to take a 4-1 lead. The next batter, Ryan Flaherty, stepped in and sent the 2-0 pitch from Lowe over the wall in right for a three-run homer, increasing the Tribe’s deficit to 7-1.
Following the Flaherty home run, leadoff hitter Nick Markakis lifted a foul ball down the left field line. Johnny Damon tracked the ball and made a leaping catch in the seats, crashing down in the first row. Unlike a similar recent play inNew Yorkby Dewayne Wise, Damon held on to the ball the entire way and even showed proof of it to the third base umpire. The ninth man to bat on the inning, J.J. Hardy, sent a sharp grounder to Jack Hannahan at third, but a nice stop and throw from Hannahan ended the Orioles’ threat.
Thome gave Cleveland fans a familiar sight leading off the fourth. After working the count full, he lined a majestic blast deep to the right field lower reserve seating area. In giving the Orioles an 8-1 lead, Thome hit his 610th career home run and his first with the O’s, moving him past Sammy Sosa into sole possession of seventh place on the all-time home run list.
A four-pitch walk to Adam Jones would end the evening for Derek Lowe. He worked just three-plus innings, facing 22 batters in that stretch. He allowed nine earned runs, including an inherited runner by Indians’ rookie Cody Allen in his major league debut. Lowe allowed seven hits and walked five, two of which were intentional.
“When you see a sinker baller give up that many fly balls,” Acta said, “you know he’s in trouble.”
In his big league debut, Cody Allen walked the first two batters he faced. He allowed a run to cross the plate, charged to Lowe, on a fielder’s choice by Wieters, but set down the remainder of the inning in order, including his first career strikeout. The Indians’ 23rd round pick in the 2011 draft, he is the second player to reach the majors from that draft class (Arizona’s Trevor Bauer, third overall pick).
The Orioles would add their tenth run in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Betemit off of Indians’ reliever Esmil Rogers, who worked two innings in relief.
Jack Hannahan homered in the bottom of the seventh for the Indians in a seven pitch at bat. It was his fourth homer of the year and his first since May 10th against Boston.
Choo doubled in the seventh, his 30th on the season and the 150th of his major league career.
Friday’s loss drops the Indians to 47-46 on the season. They remain in third place in the American League Central Division, three games behind front running Chicago and still very much in contention in the American League Wild Card race.
The win for the Orioles (49-44) keeps them in second place in the American League East, just ahead of hard-charging Boston and Tampa Bay.
Zach McAllister (4-1, 3.17) will start game two of this key seven-game homestand for the Indians on Saturday. He has won three of his last four outings and has not thrown less than five and two-thirds innings in any of his eight starts on the season. Right-hander Chris Tillman (1-0, 0.00) is scheduled to take the mound for the Orioles.
Game time on Saturday evening is scheduled for 7:05 pm ET at Progressive Field. The game can be seen on SportsTime Ohio and heard on the Cleveland Indians radio network.
Photo: AP Photo/Mark Duncan