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Indians overtake O's for fourth in wild-card race

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- There was a big-game feel Wednesday at Progressive Field, according to Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona.

That made the Indians' 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles even more satisfying.

Cleveland took two of three games in the series, and Wednesday's victory allowed the Indians (74-65) to leapfrog the Orioles (73-65) into fourth place in the American League wild-card standings.

"We needed to win tonight," Francona said. "This is the last time we play these guys, and they are one of those teams clogged up with us (in the wild-card race). This seemed like a big swing game for us."

Cleveland responded by getting three hits and two RBIs from catcher Yan Gomes and nearly perfect work from its bullpen while rallying for a victory after blowing an early 4-0 lead.

Gomes singled home a run in the first inning, singled in the third and added an RBI double in the fifth inning.

Reliever Bryan Shaw (3-3) pitched a scoreless inning to get the win. Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman (2-4) gave up two runs in 2 2/3 innings to take the loss.

Shaw, Chad Allen, Joe Smith and closer Chris Perez combined to retire 13 of the 14 batters they faced while pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Perez picked up his 22nd save.

All the scoring took place in the first five innings.

Cleveland jumped on top with a four-run first inning, but Indians starter Zach McAllister was unable to protect the lead. Baltimore scored once in the fourth and tied the game in the fifth before Cleveland scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to move back in front. The Indians bullpen shut down the Orioles the rest of the way.

The Indians got off to a quick start against Baltimore's Zach Britton. Michael Bourn reached on an infield single and Nick Swisher walked to start the first. A bunt single by Jason Kipnis loaded the bases with no outs.

"That was a really good play by Kip," Francona said. "He moves the runners at worse, but then he turns it into a hit and we have a full-fledged rally going."

Britton struck out Carlos Santana, but Gomes slapped a single to right field, scoring Bourn with the first run. Asdrubal Cabrera grounded into a force play at the plate for the second out, but Ryan Raburn, in his first at-bat since coming off the disabled list, doubled to right field, scoring Kipnis and Gomes.

"Having a long layoff and then coming back and getting it done like that feels great," Raburn said. "We're going to need help from everyone this last month." Mike Aviles followed with a single, scoring Cabrera to make it 4-0.

"Britton was probably a little over-amped in the first. He was really fighting himself tonight," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Britton said, "If I could have gotten Bourn out, I probably get out of the first inning with only one run. Unfortunately, the damage was done. I left a sinker out over the plate to Gomes, and he hit it in the gap."

McAllister held the Orioles scoreless on one hit through the first three innings, but Baltimore broke through with a run in the fourth on Adam Jones' 29th home run, cutting the Cleveland lead to 4-1.

The Orioles tied it in the fifth inning on a two-out, three-run home run by Manny Machado on a 3-2 pitch from McAllister.

"It was a decent pitch. I didn't want to walk him, so I went after him, but he got the best of it," McAllister said.

In the bottom of the fifth, Gomes doubled to drive in one run, and a second run scored on a wild pitch by Gausman.

McAllister pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits, with six strikeouts and one walk.

"Zach just let Machado get his arms extended on the home run, but overall Zach was pretty good," Francona said.

NOTES: Orioles OF Nate McLouth's next home run will be the 100th of his career. ... Nineteen of Matt Wieters' home runs have come as a catcher. With his next home run as a catcher, Wieters would become the first Orioles backstop since Chris Hoiles (1992, '93, '96) to have three 20-homer seasons. ... Gomes hit in the No. 5 spot in the order for just the second time this season. ... Bourn needs three more stolen bases to reach 300 for his career.
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