Another unlikely hero also came up big, too.
Baltimore (43-35) appeared headed for a fifth consecutive loss before scoring five runs in the seventh inning in Tuesday’s 6-3 victory. Davis tied things up with a two-run homer - his major league-leading 28th - before No. 9 hitter Alexi Casilla delivered a three-run shot, snapping a 65-game homerless drought dating to August.
“Awesome, awesome,” winning pitcher Chris Tillman said. “I think it’s every night, it’s somebody new, somebody else. It’s good to see. This is a pretty tight-knit team and we enjoy seeing that. It’s fun for all of us.”
Despite Tuesday’s loss, the Indians (39-37) have won nine of 13, and Cabrera’s return should only make them stronger.
The two-time All-Star, batting .254 with five homers, 28 runs and 25 RBIs, has missed the last 19 games with a strained right quad.
“I’ve worked really hard every day to come back and help,” he told MLB’s official website. “I’m 100 percent. I ran the bases (on Monday) and I felt really, really good.”
Cabrera is 2 for 6 with a homer and a double against Orioles scheduled starter Jason Hammel (7-4, 5.30 ERA). The right-hander gave up four runs and four hits in six innings Friday in a 7-6 walkoff loss at Toronto. It was his first start since June 12 after being skipped in the rotation due to flu-like symptoms.
“Stuff wise, comparable to the best all year,” Hammel said after striking out seven and walking one. “I felt great. You never want to say a stomach virus helped me but, overall, I felt awesome. Body, physically, mentally, everything, I felt pretty good today. It was a pretty good outing.”
Hammel could be hard-pressed to build on that effort at home, where he’s gone 1-3 over six starts while compiling a 7.09 ERA - nearly three runs higher than his 4.19 road mark. A matchup against the Indians would also appear less than ideal - he’s posted a 7.71 ERA in losing each of his three starts against them.
Mark Reynolds who spent the previous two seasons with Baltimore before signing with Cleveland this offseason, is 2 for 11 with four strikeouts versus Hammel.
Cleveland counters with Scott Kazmir (4-4, 5.37), who had gone 0-2 with a 7.98 ERA over a three-start stretch before beating Minnesota 5-1 on Friday. The left-hander allowed one run and five hits in seven innings while striking out seven and walking none.
“This was more the guy that we expect to see,” manager Terry Francona said of Kazmir, who was signed to a minor league contract in December after pitching in the independent Atlantic League last season. “If we thought he would get through the whole year without some hiccups, that’s probably unrealistic.”
Kazmir is 5-5 with a 4.80 ERA in 15 career starts versus Baltimore, with his last one coming in 2010. He’s had a difficult time against Nick Markakis who is 10 for 21 with two homers in their matchups.
Kazmir will also need to be wary of Davis, who’s 17 for 52 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs in his last 13 games.