Tribe Overcomes Early Deficit, Defeats O’s; Indians 14, Orioles 7

In an ugly back-and-forth game, the Indians and Orioles put up a football-esque score as the host Clevelanders outlasted Baltimore with a five-run seventh to win a 14-7 final on Thursday night.

In the series opener of a four-game set from downtown Cleveland, the Indians and Orioles exchanged leads frequently throughout the night before the Indians used a big rally after the stretch to take a commanding lead. Neither starting pitcher threw particularly well, with the Indians’ Trevor Bauer surviving just five innings while giving up seven runs and striking out an uncharacteristic three, while the Orioles’ Dan Straily made it one out into the four inning while giving up four runs of his own in a no-decision.

Cleveland trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning when it reclaimed the lead for good. Gabriel Ynoa allowed the first two men of the inning to reach as Leonys Martin singled and moved to second on a wild pitch before Roberto Perez moved him to third with a single to right. Paul Fry took the mound for Baltimore and hit Francisco Lindor with a pitch to load the bases, but the Indians tied the game two pitches later with a double play grounder to second by Jason Kipnis. Carlos Santana then moved the Tribe back on top with a single to center, driving in Perez from third with the go-ahead run with Cleveland taking an 8-7 lead.

Kipnis – Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)

The Indians used three pitchers to get through the top of the seventh before breaking the game open for good in the bottom of the frame. Fry hit Jake Bauers with a 3-1 fastball and Oscar Mercado took over on the bases. Miguel Castro was brought on in relief, but after a first pitch strike to Jordan Luplow, he threw four straight balls to put a second runner on base. Martin sent a sinker back into center for an RBI-single and he advanced to second on the throw. Perez struck out swinging for the first out and Lindor was intentionally walked before Richard Bleier became the third pitcher of the inning. His first pitch to Kipnis turned into a bizarre play as he grounded to second, where second baseman Hanser Alberto ran towards Lindor, who stopped in his tracks. Instead of remaining with the runner, Alberto rushed a panicked throw to first. Kipnis beat the throw there and Lindor safely scooted up to second with the other two runners crossing home plate as the Indians’ lead advanced to 11-7 on the two-run fielder’s choice. After a wild pitch, Santana worked the count full and doubled home the remaining pair on base, giving the Tribe a six-run edge.

The Indians added one more in their final trip to the plate in the bottom of the eighth. Perez walked against Bleier with two outs and scored on a double to right-center by Lindor.

Nick Wittgren faced the minimum in the eighth, working around a one-out single by Pedro Severino on a double play liner back to the mound. Oliver Perez handled the ninth, striking out two around a two-out single by Mancini.

The Indians claimed a lead in their half of the first inning against the right-hander Straily. Kipnis started his big day at the dish with a one-out shot to right. His first homer of the season gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead.

The Orioles responded with a big fly of their own in the next half inning to move in front. Stevie Wilkerson singled with one down off of Bauer and scored on a two-out, two-run drive by Rio Ruiz to the seats in right-center, giving Baltimore a 2-1 lead.

Straily shut down the Indians in the bottom of the second before the Orioles tacked on against Bauer. He walked Villar with one out and Dwight Smith Jr. singled to center. Trey Mancini found a 1-1 fastball to his liking and drove it 385 feet to right-center for what appeared to be a crushing three-run home run, putting the O’s up 5-1.

The Indians chipped away against Straily in the third. Lindor singled to start the frame and moved to second one out later on a walk by Santana. Carlos Gonzalez singled in Lindor to make it 5-2 and Jose Ramirez knocked in Santana with a base hit to right to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Cleveland moved back out in front in the fourth. Luplow reached safely on a single to third, but Straily was lifted after a flyout by Martin. Ynoa entered and promptly walked Perez before retiring the second out on a fly to left by Lindor. Kipnis got ahead in the count 3-1 before slashing a three-run home run over the wall in right to put the Indians up, 6-5.

Bauer – Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)

Baltimore reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth in Bauer’s final inning of work. Jonathan Villar walked and stole second. Smith Jr. grounded back to the mound before a walk by Mancini. Chris Davis struck out looking for the second out, but Wilkerson came through in the clutch with a big two-out, two-run double to give the O’s a 7-6 lead.

The Indians moved to 23-19 on the year with the win, while the Orioles fell to 14-29.

Somewhat lost in the end results of the seven-run win were the numbers for Bauer. He lasted five innings, but he suffered some more significant run damage on the mound. He gave up seven runs on five hits, walking four and striking out three. Two balls left the yard against him, an uncharacteristic issue for the right-hander. He threw 99 pitches, with 58 crossing for strikes. He did not have the Orioles as fooled as other teams, as he had just seven swinging strikes on the night. Despite the atypical strikeout totals, he did register his 1,000th K of his career.

“I’ve got to be better,” Bauer said. “My teammates, the organization, the fans depend on me to go out there and be better than I am right now, and I need to live up those expectations.”

A.J. Cole took home his first win of the year with an inning and one-third of two-hit relief. He missed the plate just four times in 21 attempts.

Straily gave the Birds just three and one-third on the mound and was charged with four runs on six hits. Ynoa was tagged with his first loss of the season, allowing four runs on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk in an inning and a third. All five Orioles pitchers were charged with at least one run.

Kipnis’ big day at the plate helped pace the Tribe. The second baseman hitting out of the two-hole hit a pair of home runs, his first two of the season, in a 2-for-6 day. His first four runs of the day came courtesy of his first inning solo homer and his fourth inning three-run shot, but he was credited with two more RBI on his strange fielder’s choice in the seventh. His six RBI for the day more than doubled his entire season total entering the game (5).

The Indians as a team went 7-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

Game two of the four-game series will pit right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (1-2, 2.92 ERA) against fifth-year righty and homer-happy Dylan Bundy (1-5, 4.66). First pitch from Progressive Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Friday.

Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)

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