BALTIMORE (AP) — With three straight victories under his belt, Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber trotted out his usual aggressive repertoire for the finale of a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
By the time a weird fifth inning was over, Kluber was in the dugout contemplating what went wrong, and the Orioles had rallied to take the lead. The resulting 7-3 defeat snapped Kluber’s streak and prevented the Indians from a fifth straight series victory for the first time since 2006.
“To start the game, he was real aggressive with his fastball, like he’s been,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber. “Then, as the (fifth) inning unfolded, he started to go more with the breaking ball, pitching away from the fastball a little bit, and kind of paid the price for it. In this ballpark with that lineup, that’s what can happen. They’re sitting there always able to do that if you make a couple mistakes. That’s why it’s so important to be in attack mode.”
Kluber (6-5) was knocked around for seven runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
“Obviously, the line doesn’t look good and I didn’t give the team a very good chance to win with the way it ended up out there,” he said. “I didn’t feel like there was a lot of bad pitches, like I said, just the ones that I did make ended up kind of not being in the best situations for us.”
The pitch that may have undone him ended up being a swinging third strike that earned Baltimore’s Manny Machado an early shower.
Machado felt he let his team down by losing his temper. Instead, the second-year third baseman’s first career ejection, courtesy of home plate umpire Will Little, may have been the spark the Orioles needed.
Chris Davis drove in the tiebreaking run on a fielder’s choice grounder in a the wild five-run fifth. Baltimore used six hits and two errors to erase a 3-2 deficit, salvaging a split in the four-game series. In addition to Machado getting run, Adam Jones was called out on the go-ahead grounder for sliding wide of second base to break up a potential double play that wound up plating the decisive run.
Machado wasn’t around to see the completion of the rally, something he said he regrets.
“I swung at a bad pitch (and) I thought I fouled it off,” Machado said. “Obviously, I looked back on the replay, and I didn’t. Something that I said wrong to the umpire, and I have to pay the consequences for it. Let my team down — obviously, something that won’t happen again.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Machado would learn from his youthful transgression.
“I’ve seen 10-, 15-year veterans get frustrated with some calls,” Showalter said. “It’s all lessons learned. He’s 20 years old.”
Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy also had RBIs during the comeback, which prevented the Indians from a fifth straight series victory for the first time since 2006.
“When you play teams like that, when you make a mistake or two, they can make you pay for it,” said Francona. “And that’s what happened.
Miguel Gonzalez (6-3) won for the fourth time in five decisions. He allowed three runs on nine hits over 6 2-3 innings, walking none and matching a career high with nine strikeouts.
Lonnie Chisenhall and Mike Aviles homered for the Indians. Chisenhall had three hits.
Ryan Flaherty drove in two runs for Baltimore.
Chisenhall homered to right with two outs in the second, a 430-foot shot that landed on Eutaw Street and gave the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Baltimore went ahead 2-1 on Flaherty’s two-run single in the bottom of the inning. Davis drew a leadoff walk, Wieters singled and Hardy moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt before Flaherty’s two-out single up the middle.
The Indians tied it at 2 on Chisenhall’s double in the fourth. Michael Brantley doubled to lead off the inning and Chisenhall sent a ball off the right-field wall to plate him.
Aviles led off the fifth with a line-drive homer to left, his fifth of the season.
Cleveland’s lead, however, was short-lived.
“It happened so fast, same thing last night,” said Chisenhall. “It’s the way the AL East plays. Runs just show up on the board.”
Machado’s ejection for arguing a third-strike call ended a streak of 1,206 innings played, the longest active streak in the majors.
“When I heard about it, the streak I had going, obviously it’s devastating,” Machado said. “But I just caused that on myself. That’s something that … that I just have to pay the consequences for, and I did.”
Singles by Flaherty and Nate McLouth put runners at the corners for Machado, who struck out swinging and was tossed when he argued that he foul-tipped the ball. Markakis followed with an RBI single to center for a 3-3 tie and Jones’ broken-bat single to right loaded the bases.
Davis then beat shortstop Aviles’ relay to first after Jones was called out for abandoning the baseline, allowing McLouth to score for a 4-3 lead. Aviles was charged with an error for coming off the bag early on a throw from second baseman Jason Kipnis that would have forced Jones.
Wieters then cracked a run-scoring double into the right-field corner, with Davis scoring and Wieters reaching third when Drew Stubbs bobbled the ball. Hardy’s infield single, a tapper to the left of the mound, made it 7-3 and chased Corey Kluber.
Kluber (6-5) yielded seven runs — six earned — in 4 2/3 innings, ending a steak of three straight wins. He allowed 11 hits, walked one and struck out four.
“I think there were just some crucial situations there in that fifth inning where I didn’t execute pitches and they’re obviously a very good offensive team and they put good swings on them,” Kluber said.
NOTES: The game was delayed by rain for 78 minutes in the bottom of the seventh inning. … With his first-inning single, Kipnis has reached base in 29 consecutive games. … The Orioles re-signed RHP Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal and he will report to Triple-A Norfolk. Garcia was optioned to Norfolk on Monday, and because he is a veteran had the option of declining the assignment and becoming a free agent. … Before the game, the Indians activated RHP Chris Perez (right shoulder soreness) from the 15-day disabled list and optioned LHP T.J. House to Triple-A Columbus. They also traded IF John McDonald, who was designated for assignment Wednesday, to the Phillies for cash or a player to be named. … Cleveland manager Terry Francona said RHP Trevor Bauer will start the first game of Friday’s doubleheader and RHP Carlos Carrasco would start the nightcap. Bauer will be recalled from Triple-A and Carrasco will be added as the team’s 26th man. … Brian Roberts (right hamstring) will return from the DL this weekend and become the Orioles’ starting second baseman, manager Buck Showalter said. … RHP Dylan Bundy, the Orioles’ prized pitching prospect, underwent Tommy John ligament replacement surgery Thursday. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla. … Showalter said rookie LHP T.J. McFarland would start Friday’s series opener against the Yankees.
Copyright 2013. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.