Late Long Balls Lead O’s to Victory; Orioles 6, Indians 4

The Indians bullpen wasted a good early comeback by the offense as a pair of late long balls and two blown Cleveland rallies pushed the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory in the rubber match from Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.

After allowing the tying run to score in the bottom of the sixth, the Orioles responded with a solo home run from Hyun Soo Kim off of Jeff Manship in the top of the seventh. His first career Major League home run would prove to be the game-winner, but for good measure, Nolan Reimold led off the top of the ninth with a solo blast of his own off of former Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter. Both runs were large in their own ways, especially with the way the Indians had fought back all afternoon.

Cleveland simply ran out of at bats.

The Orioles, meanwhile, did not waste at bats and jumped out quickly in the first inning against rookie righty Mike Clevinger. Adam Jones walked on five pitches before Kim struck out. Manny Machado singled to left and a five-pitch walk to Chris Davis loaded the bases for Mark Trumbo, who continued his big series with a bases clearing double to left to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

With the way Baltimore ace Chris Tillman breezed through the first three innings, facing the minimum with a second inning leadoff walk to Mike Napoli erased on a double play ball from Juan Uribe, it seemed as though three runs would be more than enough on the afternoon.

For good measure, the O’s added a fourth in the fourth after a leadoff double from Jonathan Schoop. Reimold flied to center to move Schoop to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly to left from Ryan Flaherty to give Baltimore a four-run advantage.

Napoli - AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Napoli – AP Photo/Tony Dejak

The Indians offense finally awoke the second time through against Tillman. Carlos Santana hit the first pitch of the fourth inning over the wall in right to cut into the deficit. After a fly out from Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor drew a five-pitch walk, which set the stage for another clutch big fly from Napoli to make it a 4-3 game. The tenth blast of his season broke his extremely brief tie for the Indians’ home run lead with Santana, who hit his ninth to start the frame.

Cleveland tied it in the sixth, using their third home run of the day to make it a 4-4 game. This time, it was Kipnis with a monstrous clout to right to lead off the inning. That score would last just five outs and seven batters before Kim would break the tie for good with his first career trot around the bases as a Major Leaguer.

Manship, whose homer to Kim was the deciding run, took his first loss this season. Tillman was credited with his seventh win of the season against just one loss.

Cleveland (26-22) fell back to second place in the division with the loss, ending its brief one-day hold of the top spot in the American League Central Division with Chicago’s third straight loss in Kansas City. The Indians stand one-half game out of first heading into a difficult stretch this week against the Texas Rangers and the Royals. The Orioles (28-20) remain one game out in the AL East after Boston’s win on Sunday.


The Indians laid waste to a huge opportunity to get back into the game in the bottom of the eighth with the score still 5-4 at the time. Brad Brach, who had replaced Tillman after six innings, gave up a pair of hits to start the inning, a single to center by Kipnis and a double to deep right to Lindor. Darren O’Day came on in relief and had better success than the other night, getting a groundout from Napoli for the first out of the frame. He intentionally walked Jose Ramirez to load the bases and manager Terry Francona countered with pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall for Uribe. A nine-pitch at bat, including six consecutive foul balls, ended with Chisenhall taking a called third strike looking on the outside half of the plate for the second out and Gomes went down swinging on four pitches to end the two-out rally with the bases still loaded.


After Baltimore pushed their lead back to two runs in the top of the ninth, the Indians were down to their final three outs and again stared down an opportunity to push key runs across in a close game. Left-handed closer Zach Britton relieved O’Day and gave up back-to-back singles to Marlon Byrd and Rajai Davis. Santana grounded into a double play, but the out at first was overturned by review, leaving the Indians with the tying runs on base and the potential winning runs coming to the plate in Kipnis and Lindor with two outs remaining. Far more often the heroes than the goats, Kipnis struck out swinging on four pitches and Lindor did the same on three to end the ball game.


Despite the shaky ninth inning, Orioles closer Britton saved his 14th game in 14 opportunities this season. He is now tied with Detroit’s Francisco Rodriguez and Kansas City’s Wade Davis for the saves lead in the AL.


With three more RBI on Sunday, Trumbo concluded his monster series against Cleveland by going 6-for-12 with three doubles, two homers, two runs scored, and five RBI.


Tillman (7-1, 2.92 ERA) allowed just one base runner the first time through the order before giving up three runs in the fourth inning. He settled down well enough to give the Orioles six innings, allowing four runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He exited the half inning after Kim’s go-ahead home run, giving him a late win opportunity.

Making his eleventh start of the season, Tillman equaled his previous home run total allowed with the three he surrendered Sunday. Despite the deep flies, he improved to 7-1 and the Orioles to 9-2 in games in which he pitches.

Clevinger - Jason Miller/Getty Images
Clevinger – Jason Miller/Getty Images


In his third Major League start, Cleveland’s Clevinger had command issues in the early going, leading to three early runs. He allowed four total on the day over four innings, needing 89 pitches to retire 12 outs (including four strikeouts). He walked three batters on the afternoon.


Indians reliever Dan Otero was great in relief for Cleveland on Sunday, working two scoreless innings while allowing just one hit and striking out three.


The Indians scored four runs or more in all three games of the series, which usually is a recipe for success for the Cleveland franchise this year. These three games were different than the norm, however, as the Indians dropped two of those three games to fall to 23-5 this season when scoring four runs or more in a contest.


The Indians will welcome in another top team from the American League this week as the Texas Rangers come to town for three straight 6:10 PM ET starts beginning Monday night. Left-hander and Ohio native Derek Holland (3-4, 5.21) will take the ball in game one for the Rangers, while the Indians will send right-hander Josh Tomlin (7-0, 3.35) to the mound. He will look to remain perfect on the season, as Cleveland has won 16 of his last 17 starts.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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