It took a long time to get it started, but in the end it was well worth the wait, as the Indians, for the second straight game, scored eight runs against the Orioles staff.
Orlando Cabrera drove in four runs, Shin-Soo Choo homered, Josh Tomlin won his third straight start, and even Chad Durbin joined the fun with a scoreless ninth inning, as the Tribe sent Baltimore to its sixth straight defeat with an 8-3 win at Progressive Field.
Tomlin (3-0, 2.75) delivered yet another quality start for the Indians and matched Justin Masterson for the club lead in victories. All that from a starter who wasn’t even assured of a rotation spot until late in spring training.
The home run battle in today’s contest ended at 2-2, with Jake Fox and Luke Scott hitting solo shots off of Tomlin, and Shin-Soo Choo hitting a solo shot and Orlando Cabrera a two-run blast for the Tribe. Cabrera’s homer pretty much put the game away, giving the Indians their final margin in the bottom of the seventh.
Orlando Cabrera duplicated what Asdrubal Cabrera had achieved on Friday night, driving in four runs. Matt LaPorta drove in a pair and Choo and Travis Buck each drove in a run as the Indians pounded out 13 hits, giving them 25 hits in only sixteen innings in this series.
The victim of the bulk of the Tribe’s damage today was Jeremy Guthrie, who — like last night’s Baltimore starter, Zach Britton — came in with an ERA of well under a run per nine innings and saw that number swell to 3.32. Guthrie gave up six runs on ten hits in five innings of work, allowing Choo’s homer.
Orlando Cabrera’s two-run jack to the home-run porch came off of Michael Gonzalez.
After Tomlin escaped a couple of jams — one in the fifth and one in the sixth — he was pulled after 79 pitches. Tomlin issued no free passes, and surrendered six hits, striking out four.
Vinnie Pestano came on in the seventh and had a nervous inning, but one that could have been a whole lot worse.
Jake Fox opened the seventh with a triple, and after a walk, Brian Roberts made it 6-3 Cleveland with a base hit which left the Orioles one big swing from tying the game, and with two on and nobody out.
Then Pestano bore down.
Pestano got Nick Markakis to ground into a double play, then struck out Derrek Lee, and just like that the inning was over and the Tribe still led by three. Then, in the bottom half, O. Cabrera hit his two-run homer and it was all over but the drying, so to speak, after a game which was delayed at the start for over two hours.
Tony Sipp surrendered a lead-off hit in the eighth and also issued a walk, but escaped unscathed to keep his ERA at 0.00, and Chad Durbin — the losing pitcher on Wednesday in Anaheim — finished up, also surrendering a lead-off hit but then retiring the final three hitters of the game, striking out one.
The paid attendance at Progressive Field was 10,714, but it is hard to grouse about the crowd-count at this one, which looked for a while as if it might be washed out. It was a damp, chilly and windy day, and perhaps, if the weather is better tomorrow, the numbers in the seats might reflect it.
The Indians’ victory leaves them tied with Kansas City, which just keeps on winning. Both teams are 10-4 on the season, and after tomorrow’s games, the Tribe is off to face the Royals in a most-unlikely battle for first place in a four-game set.
Let’s take care of business tomorrow, get our third sweep of the season, and go to K.C. seven games over .500