BALTIMORE -- With just one win in 35 games when trailing after eight innings and facing one of the game's most dominant closers, the situation looked bleak for the Cleveland Indians against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
However, these resurgent Indians are now finding ways to win.
Cleveland's Scott Kazmir allowed just one hit over seven innings and the Indians scored twice against Baltimore closer Jim Johnson in the ninth for a 4-3 victory.
"This is one of those games that could have been a killer loss, but it winds up being a great win," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Kazmir carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Manny Machado led off with a double. Kazmir allowed one run (none earned) with four strike outs and one walk. He left the game prior to the eighth inning with back spasms, but he does not expect to miss any time.
Kazmir fell short in becoming the first Indians pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Len Barker's perfect game on May 15, 1981. Kazmir was unaware he even had a no-hitter going in the seventh.
"I didn't know about it all until one of the fans screamed it out three times in a row," Kazmir said. "Before that, I was just locked in on what I wanted to do. Still, a lot to work on, but my delivery is becoming more consistent."
Jason Kipnis hit a two-run homer for Cleveland.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel was also effective and gave up just two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks over seven innings. Hammel also picked up his seventh quality start of the season.
After the double in the seventh, Machado eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Wieters that cut the Indians' lead to 2-1.
Baltimore then loaded the bases against Cleveland right-hander Joe Smith in the eighth and Nick Markakis tied the game with a grounder to second. Machado then provided a 3-2 lead with a long single to left field that scored Chris Dickerson.
"Every loss is disappointing, but you have to tip your cap to the other team," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "[Kazmir] was great through his whole outing tonight. He did exactly what he needed to do. The cool part of this game is we kept grinding."
The Indians answered in the ninth when a sharp grounder to second by Lonnie Chisenhall off Johnson scored Michael Brantley. Another grounder to third by Drew Stubbs then provided the go-ahead run.
"I came real close to keeping it tied," Johnson said. "But obviously I dug myself my own hole. Hammel did a great job tonight and it takes away from his pitching performance. On both sides. It kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth."
Vinnie Pestano picked up his fifth save for the Indians with a scoreless ninth. Smith got the win.
Johnson blew his fifth save and took the loss for the Orioles.
Hammel had struggled in his previous four starts, going 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA. He was in control early, retiring the 10 consecutive batters before hitting Asdrubal Cabrera with one out in the fourth.
Kipnis followed with his second two-run homer in as many nights to left-center, providing the Indians with a 2-0 lead. Kipnis has 11 home runs on the season, and 19 of his 45 RBI have come in June.
"It's not over and we're trying to keep it going," Kipnis said about the come-from-behind win. "I'm trying to mature as a player, as a hitter. I'm learning some things about myself and trying to be consistent right now. It's happening."
Meanwhile, Kazmir was perfect through 4 1/3 innings before allowing a walk to Wieters.
"Because he's had repetition, he's been able to go out and pitch and not think about so many different things," Francona said. "He can go out and compete. He looks strong and looks like he has a lot of gas in the tank. The more reps he gets, the more polished his pitches get."
Notes: Orioles top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday and will miss up to 12 months. ... The game was delayed 1 hour, six minutes because of thunderstorms. ... Cabrera was back in the lineup Wednesday for the first time since June 4 after being on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. Jonn McDonald was designated for assignment. ... With his fourth inning homer, Kipnis has reached safely in 28 consecutive games, dating to May 28. ... Double-A Bowie outfielder Henry Urrutia and Class-A Frederick right-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez will represent the Orioles in the 2013 Futures Game at Citi Field on July 14. Pitcher C.C. Lee of Triple-A Columbus and shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Single-A Advanced Carolina Mudcats will represent the Indians in the Futures Game.