Six innings of quality work from Carlos Carrasco, coupled with three RBI from Francisco Lindor, were more than enough for Cleveland on Wednesday night as the Indians defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 5-1, to win for the seventh time in their last eight games.
The final score was not indicative of a well-pitched game early on between Carrasco and Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman, who pitched far better than his numbers on the season would indicate. The Indians had the tough task of facing him at home at Orioles Park at Camden Yards, where he entered the night with a 17-11 record lifetime.
The game was scoreless through the first four frames as the right-handers contained the opposition. Both teams notched singles in the second, but were unable to do anything with the base runners. The Indians put the first two men on in the fourth as Jason Kipnis drew a walk and Jose Ramirez extended his hitting streak with a single to left-center, but Gausman retired three straight to strand the pair. The Orioles got two on with two outs in the bottom half of the frame as Adam Jones reached on an infield single and Mark Trumbo singled to center, but Carrasco got out of it by retiring Trey Mancini.
Cleveland did not waste its opportunities in the fifth as it took the lead. Bradley Zimmer singled with one out and hustled all the way home on a double to the left-center gap by Roberto Perez. Lindor followed with his first run-producing knock of the night as he hit his 14th homer of the season to put the Indians up, 3-0. Kipnis would single and steal second, but Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion each went down swinging to end the inning.
Carrasco allowed a one-out single in the sixth without harm, but got into trouble in the seventh as Trumbo, Mancini, and Jonathan Schoop each reached on singles to start the bottom half of the inning. Andrew Miller was summoned from the bullpen and got Joey Rickard to ground to third, where Ramirez returned the ball to the plate to force Trumbo for the first out. Caleb Joseph struck out swinging, bringing pinch-hitter Ruben Tejada to the plate, but his results were the same as his swinging strikeout left the bags loaded. Miller retired the side in order in an easier eighth, bringing the Indians back to the plate for some insurance in the ninth.
Austin Jackson grounded out against reliever Miguel Castro, but Zimmer singled to right and stole second. Perez singled to left to move Zimmer to third and he would score easily on a single through the hole on the right side of the infield by Lindor to make it 4-0. Kipnis followed with a single of his own, scoring the Indians catcher, who blew through the stop sign at third to make it 5-0. A single by Ramirez loaded the bases and brought Alec Asher on from the Baltimore bullpen, but he struck out Encarnacion and got Lonnie Chisenhall to fly to left to stop the bleeding.
Dan Otero started the ninth, but would be unable to complete the inning. After retiring Trumbo on a grounder to Ramirez, Mancini singled and scored on a double by Schoop as the Orioles avoided the shutout. Rickard struck out swinging for the second out, but Joseph reached on an error by Ramirez to put runners on the corners with Tejada coming to the plate. Bryan Shaw came on for Otero and got the O’s shortstop to ground to second, where Erik Gonzalez flipped to Lindor for the force to end the ball game. The effort earned Shaw his second save of the season.
The win moved the Indians back to six games over at 38-32. They hold a game and a half lead over the second place Minnesota Twins in the division. The Orioles fell to 35-36 with the loss and landed back in the cellar of the AL East, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays, five games in back of the first place New York Yankees. They are performing at historically bad levels as a pitching staff, as they have allowed five runs or more in 18 straight games, just two short of matching the Major League record (Philadelphia Phillies in 1924).
CARRASCO CONTAINS O’S
Carrasco (8-3) had breezed through six innings with just four hits allowed and ten strikeouts, but three straight hits altered his stat line significantly. The strong work by Miller prevented any of his three inherited runners from scoring, allowing his ERA on the year to drop below three at 2.99.
He left with six-plus innings worked in a quality start, allowing no runs on seven hits. He walked none and needed just 95 pitches before exiting. He struck out eight different Baltimore starters on the night, only failing to set down Mancini in that manner.
TOUGH LUCK FOR GAUSMAN
Gausman (3-7) saw his June losing skid hit three straight with the loss. He pitched better than his previous outings in the month, but the results were the same at the end of the game. He lasted five and two-thirds innings for the second straight start, allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts.
RAMIREZ EXTENDS STREAK
Ramirez’s multi-game hitting streak extended with his single in the ninth, but his string of consecutive games with a double came to an end at eight. Ramirez has now moved past Kenny Lofton and has matched Roy Hughes (1936) with nine straight multi-hit games for the Tribe and sets his sights on the legend Shoeless Joe Jackson next. Jackson had two separate streaks of ten and eleven games during his Indians career.
RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
For the second time in the series, the first pitch was delayed by rains over the Inner Harbor. Wednesday’s delay was 44 minutes.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
The Indians and Orioles will play one final game at Camden Yards on Thursday night with a 7:05 PM ET first pitch. Second-year right-hander Mike Clevinger (2-3, 3.89 ERA) will throw for Cleveland. He is coming off of a rain-shortened start, when he allowed just one run on two hits in four innings against Minnesota in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader. The Orioles will send veteran left-hander Wade Miley (3-4, 4.29) to the mound, ending a run of right-handers faced by the Tribe. Miley has earned the decision in just half of his 14 starts this season and is coming off of a rough start against the St. Louis Cardinals in his last outing, despite getting the win. He allowed six runs on six hits with four home runs while lasting five and two-thirds innings.
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