Tribe Overcomes Early Deficit to Claim 17th Straight Win; Indians 4, Orioles 2
Bob Toth | On 09, Sep 2017
The streak remained alive on Saturday afternoon as the Cleveland Indians overcame an early deficit with runs in three straight innings and added an insurance run late on the way to a 4-2 win.
The Indians (86-56) extended their franchise record for consecutive wins to 17 straight with the victory, as Cleveland guaranteed itself its fifth straight series win. Including ties, the Indians have not dropped a series since losing two games and having a third rained out on July 31 and August 1 in Boston against the Red Sox.
The Tribe faced an unfamiliar situation in the first inning as the team fell behind, marking the first time in the 17-game streak that the club has not taken the first lead of the game. The Orioles struck for the run against Josh Tomlin, who was making his second start since returning from the disabled list earlier in the week. With one out, Manny Machado reached on an infield single and moved to third on a two-out single to center by Adam Jones. Trey Mancini grounded up the middle on a ball that shortstop Francisco Lindor was able to get to before it snuck through to the outfield, but his throw to first was not in time to nab Mancini, allowing Machado to score to put Baltimore on top, 1-0. Tomlin struck out the dangerous slugger Chris Davis to prevent further harm.
Young right-hander Gabriel Ynoa made his first start of the season for the Orioles after working in relief in other trips to the big league roster this season. He contained the Indians in order in each of the first two innings, but Yan Gomes got on base with a one-out single in the third. Giovanny Urshela fell behind two strikes before blasting a deep drive off of the 19-foot wall in center field, scoring Gomes with ease. Ynoa would retire the next two batters, but the Indians would get to him again in the fourth.
Carlos Santana started the inning with a double to right. He moved to third on a grounder to first by Edwin Encarnacion and he scored as Jay Bruce singled through the pulled in infield to put the Indians on top for the first time on Saturday, 2-1. Ynoa would again squirm out of it, after giving up a single to Yandy Diaz, by striking out Bradley Zimmer on a tough pitch low and in and getting Gomes to fly out to center.
Tomlin contained the Orioles after the first inning run, setting down 13 straight through the fifth. His offense then gave him another run for the third straight inning while ending Ynoa’s day. With two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall singled up the middle. Santana then drove the ball the opposite way off of the in-wall scoreboard in left, scoring Chisenhall from first to put Cleveland up, 3-1. Ynoa was lifted for Mychal Givens, who retired the final out of the frame.
Tim Beckham started the sixth inning with a second pitch blast to left that cleared the wall for a big home run to make it a 3-2 game. Tomlin got the hook at that point, with five innings and one batter faced, but left with the game in the qualified hands of many bullpen teammates. Joe Smith worked the rest of the frame, giving up a two-out blooper to right to Jones, but struck out a pair. Craig Breslow and Dan Otero tag-teamed on the seventh, with Breslow retiring Davis on a fly to center before Otero struck out Mark Trumbo and got Welington Castillo to ground to second.
Darren O’Day became the third Orioles pitcher of the day when he took over for Givens to start the seventh. After striking out Urshela to start the inning, Lindor sent a 2-2 pitch deep into the right field seating area for a key insurance run. His 28th home run of the season made it a 4-2 game. O’Day would struggle to get out of the inning, walking Santana with two outs and giving up an infield single off of the glove of Machado at third to Encarnacion, but Donnie Hart came on for a lefty-lefty matchup with Bruce and got him to pop up to second.
Bryan Shaw took care of the eighth and did so in spectacular fashion, striking out all three batters that he would face. Cody Allen had an easy ninth of his own, getting two outs in the air from Jonathan Schoop and Jones before striking out Mancini.
Cleveland’s win reduced its magic number to 10. Maybe even more important, the Indians pulled within one game of the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League, with the Astros playing in Oakland against the A’s later in the day (EDITOR’S UPDATE: A’s defeated the Astros, Indians now trail by 1/2 game). The Indians are still heading towards Oakland’s mark of 20 straight wins in 2002 to topple the AL record, with the New York Giants’ 26-game streak (including a tie) serving as the all-time Major League record.
The O’s, who need every win to keep close in the Wild Card race, dropped back to the .500 mark at 71-71.
Tomlin improved to 9-9 on the season with his fifth straight win after allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts in five-plus innings of work. The bullpen was big behind him, allowing just one base runner (Jones’ bloop single off of Smith) in four scoreless innings of work while striking out seven. Allen’s save was his 25th of the year.
Ynoa took his first loss of the season in his first start. He worked four and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts. The Baltimore bullpen allowed just a run on two hits with a walk in three and one-third innings – with all of that damage coming against the former AL All-Star O’Day.
The Indians were once again without Jose Ramirez, who was resting with a wrist injury. Urshela got the start at second and Diaz the call at third, with Erik Gonzalez coming in late as a defensive replacement, shifting Urshela over to third for Diaz.
Despite the absence of Ramirez’s big bat, the Indians have continued to run up the score against the opposition. They have outscored opposing teams 118-30 since their last loss. Encarnacion has been a big contributor in those numbers during that stretch as he extended his consecutive games on base (via hit or walk) to 32 straight.
Cleveland will go for its 18th win in a row on Sunday night in a special 8:05 PM ET start due to a national telecast on ESPN. Trevor Bauer (15-8, 4.39 ERA) will look to take back the AL lead in wins if he can pick up a ninth straight win on the mound for the Indians. Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (8-8, 5.26) will make his eighth start for the Orioles since being acquired just prior to the July trade deadline. He has gone 2-3 with Baltimore with a 6.87 ERA since joining the club.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images