The Indians had some well struck hits in the last two innings on Sunday afternoon against Baltimore, but it was for naught as the Orioles played with fire and survived for a tight 6-4 win against the Indians.
Lonnie Chisenhall, pinch hitting for Juan Uribe in the eighth, came to the plate with the bases loaded and had a great at bat against Orioles reliever Darren O’Day. Chisenhall got ahead 2-0, pounded two balls just foul down the right field line and then gamely fouled off five consecutive pitches before O’Day froze him with the breaking ball for strike three. O’Day then struck out Yan Gomes to leave them loaded in the eighth.
Zach Britton came on to close things out for the Orioles in the ninth, and barely escaped as well. Britton came into the game with an incredible 0.55 WHIP, allowing only seven hits in twenty innings so far this season. Of course he proceeded to give up consecutive singles to the Indians’ number eight and nine batters, Marlon Byrd and Rajai Davis, to put the tying runs aboard for the top of the order.
Britton worked out of it, though, getting Carlos Santana on a fielder’s choice before whiffing Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor to close the book. Lindor, especially, was fooled by Britton. He was caught swinging at two fastballs way out of the zone. It was a big moment that Lindor would probably love to have back. Indians fans can hope he filed that one away and learned something for next time.
Rookie starting pitcher Mike Clevinger had another shaky outing on Sunday, allowing three runs to score in the first and laboring through 56 pitches in the first two innings. Terry Francona had Dan Otero warming up in the first, second and fourth as Clevinger repeatedly walked the tightrope. Clevinger has an 8.79 ERA in his first three Major League starts and Terry Francona continues to get inconsistency out of his Columbus reserves. The good news is that Carlos Carrasco had a rehab appearance in Columbus this weekend and was at Progressive Field on Sunday, playing catch with pitching coach Micky Callaway.
But Wait, There’s More
Lindor’s double in the eighth inning could not have been hit any harder. Lindor absolutely laced a ball off the top of the wall in right field in the bottom of the eighth. With Jason Kipnis on first, any amount of lift on that ball is a game-tying home run and a whole new ballgame.
The Tribe hit three more home runs on Sunday. Santana put his tenth home run into the bleachers to lead off the fourth, Mike Napoli followed three batters later with a two run shot. It was Napoli’s tenth of the year. Kipnis added his seventh home run in the sixth. Kipnis’ homer was deep into the seats in right field and tied the game at 4.