Baseball / Sports

Orioles' offense breaks through in 4-1 win over Indians

CLEVELAND -- Stuck in one of their longest offensive droughts of the season, the Orioles finally broke through with two runs in the sixth inning Sunday afternoon.

And that was plenty of support for starter Kevin Gausman and three Orioles relievers who limited the Cleveland Indians to two hits in a 4-1 victory at Progressive Field.

The Orioles (70-52) picked up their 70th win -- something they didn't do until Aug. 25 last year -- and avoided a sweep by the Indians (62-61).

Entering Sunday's sixth, the Orioles had scored just once in 25 innings in the series and hadn't scored at all since Friday's eighth -- a span of 17 shutout frames.

Cleveland right-hander Danny Salazar, who had just been recalled from Triple-A Columbus, took a three-hit shutout into the sixth. Two batters later, he was out of the game and had to watch his potential win turn into a loss from the dugout.

Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce led off the sixth inning with a double, and center fielder Adam Jones then was hit by a pitch.

Indians manager Terry Francona decided to pull Salazar (4-6) after 91 pitches -- the 24-year-old had thrown 96 pitches in his last start for Columbus and 95 in an earlier start for the Indians this month -- to bring in right-handed reliever Scott Atchison.

The move backfired.

Atchison picked up two outs before J.J. Hardy singled to right field to score Pearce and tie the game at 1-1.

Then Chris Davis, who was 2-for-22 in his previous six games, lined an opposite-field double down the left-field line to score Jones with the go-ahead run. It was Davis' second double in three at-bats.

The Orioles scored more in Sunday's sixth inning then they had in their previous 2 1/2 games.

Pearce added a key run in the seventh, when he hit a fly ball down the left field line against C.C. Lee that just kept carrying. The homer, estimated at 390 feet, was Pearce's 12th on the season and first since July 10. Jonathan Schoop added his 12th homer to lead off the ninth, a 412-foot blast to center field.

Gausman (7-4) and the Orioles bullpen handled the rest, guaranteeing that the Orioles wouldn't be swept in Cleveland for the first time since 2011.

Darren O'Day, Andrew Miller (three strikeouts) and Zach Britton (26th save) each threw a scoreless inning in relief of Gausman, who allowed just two hits but matched his career high with four walks.

Gausman's outing started shakily. He walked two of the first three batters he faced, including Michael Brantley on four pitches.

After a double steal, the Indians had runners on second and third and just one out against the Orioles rookie. But Gausman, who threw 23 pitches in the first inning, escaped on a pop-up and a groundout.

Twice Gausman walked two batters in an inning and didn't give up a run. A comebacker double play rescued him in the fifth.

The lone run he gave up in the fourth seemed avoidable. With one out, Carlos Santana hit a potentially catchable fly ball to left field that Delmon Young chased but failed to track down. It landed at the base of the wall, a couple feet away from Young, for a double.

Jason Kipnis then blooped a single in front of Jones, whose ill-advised throw to the plate was wide and skipped to the backstop. Kipnis moved to second on the error but was stranded there on more tightrope pitching by Gausman.

The Orioles right-hander lasted six innings, and only two of them were clean. He threw only 51 of his 91 pitches for strikes, but he kept getting key outs when he needed them the most.

Gausman has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts.

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