Getting a strong outing from their starter helped the Cleveland Indians avoid the longest losing streak in franchise history. They may need to rely more on their offense with Jeremy Sowers(notes) taking the mound after the worst start of his career.
Sowers tries to rebound from a miserable performance and help the Indians win two straight for the first time in a month Saturday night against the Baltimore Orioles, losers of eight in a row.
The Indians (62-91) snapped an 11-game losing streak Friday, beating the Orioles (60-93) 4-2 to avoid tying the franchise record of 12 straight losses set in 1931. It was just their fourth win in 24 games.
Luis Valbuena(notes) homered and Lou Marson(notes) doubled and scored twice, but perhaps most important for Cleveland, starter Fausto Carmona(notes) allowed two runs and struck out six in six innings. Indians starters came in 0-10 with a 7.31 ERA, failing to make it through six innings in four of the last five games.
“Guys are still coming to work every day. We’ve got a job to do,” said closer Kerry Wood(notes), who recorded his 20th save in 25 chances. “It’s easy to get down, especially when you’ve lost 11 in a row, but guys still put the uniform on every day and got ready.”
The Indians will now turn to Sowers (6-10, 4.92 ERA) as they try to win back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 26 and 27.
Sowers gave up six runs and nine hits in a career-low one inning of an 8-4 loss to Oakland last Saturday. He faced three batters in the second, but failed to record an out.
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA against the Orioles in his career. He pitched 4 2-3 innings against them on Aug. 29, allowing two runs and six hits in a 5-3 victory but left without a decision.
While the Indians ended their slump, Baltimore’s skid reached eight, during which it has scored 21 runs. The Orioles had 10 hits, including three doubles and a home run, but grounded into two double plays and were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
The Orioles’ sagging offense suffered another blow when center fielder Felix Pie(notes) left in the seventh inning with a strained left quadriceps. Pie, who is day to day, was 2 for 4 before exiting and is hitting .313 with four RBIs during the losing streak.
Pie had taken over as the team’s starting center fielder when All-Star Adam Jones(notes) was lost for the season earlier this month with an ankle injury. Baltimore is also without starting left fielder Nolan Reimold(notes) (Achilles’).
After winning three straight decisions, Berken gave up six runs and 10 hits in three innings of a 9-3 loss to Boston on Sunday.
In the rookie right-hander’s only start against the Indians, he gave up two runs in five innings of a 13-4 win Aug. 28.