Any thought that the Indians’ hitters might be a little water-logged after a long delay to the start of this afternoon’s game against Baltimore was put to rest quickly, as the Tribe scored two in the second and four times in the third, and Cleveland leads the Orioles 6-1 headed to the fourth.
After a scoreless first inning, the Tribe struck in the second. Carlos Santana led off with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Travis Hafner followed with a single, putting runners at the corners, and Orlando Cabrera plated the game’s first run with a fielder’s-choice grounder. Travis Buck followed with a single, then Matt LaPorta doubled, scoring Cabrera and making it 2-0.
The Indians could have scored more in the second, but Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie toughened and struck out Jack Hannahan and Michael Brantley, stranding two runners in scoring position.
The Orioles got a run back in the top of the third. With one out, Jake Fox hit his first home run for Baltimore — also the first base-runner allowed by Josh Tomlin — to cut the margin to 2-1, but the Indians responded in a big way in the bottom of the inning.
After Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out leading off, Shin-Soo Choo blasted his second homer of the year to left, restoring the two-run margin. But the Tribe was far from done.
Carlos Santana flied out for the second out of the inning, but then Hafner doubled, Orlando Cabrera drove Hafner home with his second RBI of the game, a base hit that plated a run with Cabrera taking second after the throw. Then Buck doubled, making it 5-1, and LaPorta singled in the fourth run of the inning, giving the Tribe a healthy margin going to the middle innings.
Tomlin has been strong so far, allowing just the one hit, walking none, as yet another strong pitching performance is giving the Indians a chance to keep pace with Kansas City, which moved to 10-4 this afternoon with their third straight win over Seattle.