Indians, Perez avoid collapse against Orioles

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- It got a little hairy at the end, but the Cleveland Indians hung on to edge the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 on Tuesday night.

With the Indians leading 4-0, Cleveland closer Chris Perez entered the game in the ninth inning in a non-save situation. After Perez had faced his first three batters, the Indians' lead was down to 4-3.

But Perez managed to retire the next three batters as the Indians won for just the second time in their last eight games.

"We played a nice crisp game. That's how we have to play," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

Ubaldo Jimenez pitched six strong innings, and relievers Chad Allen and Joe Smith nursed the 4-0 lead through the seventh and eighth innings.

Perez, convicted earlier in the day on a misdemeanor drug charge, entered the game to start the ninth. Perez gave up singles to the first two batters he faced, Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy, and Nate McLouth followed with a three-run homer that cut the Indians' lead to 4-3.

Perez struck out the next two batters, Brian Roberts and Manny Machado, and got major league home run leader Chris Davis to ground out to end the game.

"I actually thought he threw the ball pretty well. He just left a ball up to McLouth," Francona said.

Jimenez (10-9) pitched six scoreless innings, allowing four hits. He struck out four and walked two. He topped his win total from last year, when he led the American League in losses during a 9-17 season.

"It's all about my fastball," Jimenez said. "My velocity is up. I'm throwing the fastball and then throwing the breaking ball off the fastball. Even if I go deeper into games I feel stronger."

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter was impressed.

"Jimenez was as good as anyone in baseball three or four years ago, and it looks like he's got his velocity back," Showalter said. "He was really crisp with his change-up and his fastball was working for him all night."

Leading 1-0, Cleveland erupted for three runs in the sixth inning against Chris Tillman, who was bidding to become the first Orioles pitcher to win 16 games in a season since Mike Mussina won 18 in 1999.

Carlos Santana led off the sixth with a walk and went to third on a double by Michael Brantley. Asdrubal Cabrera's second sacrifice fly of the game drove in Santana to make it 2-0.

Jason Kubel drew an intentional walk and Yan Gomes ripped a double off the left field wall, scoring both runners and stretching the Cleveland lead to 4-0.

"Gomes has done that a lot for us this year. He's emerging into a very good player," Francona said.

Tillman (15-5) gave up four runs, five hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three.

"I need to be better than that, and I know it," Tillman said. "I struggled from the get-go and the Indians did a good job battling."

The Indians have struggled to score runs lately, having been held to three runs or fewer in eight of their previous 11 games. But they scored first, taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit.

Tillman walked the first two batters of the inning, Jason Kipnis and Santana. A sacrifice bunt by Brantley moved the runners to second and third, and a sacrifice fly by Cabrera scored Kipnis.

NOTES: Before the game, the Orioles recalled INF Jonathan Schoop, OF Henry Urrutia and RHP Josh Stinson from Triple-A Norfolk and INF Ryan Flaherty from Class A Frederick. ... Baltimore LHP Zach Britton, who was recalled from Norfolk on Monday, will start Wednesday's game. It will be his first start for the Orioles since July 9. ... Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson, who left Monday's game in the second inning, has been diagnosed with a strained oblique. Manager Terry Francona said Masterson, the Indians' winningest pitcher this season with a 14-10 record, will miss at least one start. ... Cleveland activated OF Ryan Raburn from the disabled list before the game. He had been out since Aug. 19 due to soreness in his right calf and left heel.
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