CLEVELAND -- The Indians used a strong start from Danny Salazar and an all-around offensive attack to claim an 11-4 victory over the Orioles on Saturday at Progressive Field. With the win, Cleveland moved into first place in the American League Central for the first time this season."It's going to
CLEVELAND -- The Indians used a strong start from Danny Salazar and an all-around offensive attack to claim an 11-4 victory over the Orioles on Saturday at Progressive Field. With the win, Cleveland moved into first place in the American League Central for the first time this season.
"It's going to take all of us to do this," Indians first baseman Mike Napoli said of being in first place. "We can't just have individuals out there on their own playing. I think we've done a good job of sticking together and getting what pitchers have been giving us, and passing it on to the next guy. It's something that we're going to have to continue to do."
Baltimore collected a season-high six doubles -- including an RBI two-base hit each for Matt Wieters and Adam Jones -- but it was not enough to overcome the early hole dug by starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Cleveland scored six runs (three earned) off Jimenez in 1 2/3 innings, marking his shortest outing since April 16, 2013, when he pitched for the Tribe.
"That's the thing about baseball," Jimenez said. "When things are going bad, everything falls apart. Whatever you do out there just doesn't go your way. But things change, and I have a feeling things are going to change."
Salazar (5-3) picked up the win after holding the Orioles to two runs on six hits in six innings for the Indians, who have won nine of their past 13 games. The righty struck out five and walked two in the effort. Catcher Yan Gomes chipped in two hits and three RBIs for the Indians, who tied a season high with five stolen bases in the win.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Running wild: The Indians are more than familiar with Jimenez's propensity for allowing stolen bases, and they took advantage on Saturday. Napoli and Jose Ramirez pulled off a double steal in the first inning, setting up a two-run single by Gomes. Francisco Lindor swiped second and scored on a base hit by Napoli in the second. The Tribe's four steals against Jimenez gave him an AL-high 11 thefts allowed this season.
"It's one of the things I'm most proud of with our guys," Indians manager Terry Francona said of his team's baserunning. "It's something we talked about the first day of Spring Training. For a number of reasons, I think the way you run the bases, it obviously helps in a number of ways." More >
Reliable relief: Due to Jimenez's early departure, reliever Vance Worley appeared in the game much sooner than anticipated. Worley did a serviceable job of preventing the gates from being completely blown open. The righty surrendered two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings of relief. He may have surrendered his first run as a reliever on the year, but his outing kept the bullpen from being completely depleted.
"When the game is where it's at, you're going in trying to limit the damage," Worley said. "I was trying to keep the guys in it. I was trying to work as quick as I can to get the guys off their feet and back into the dugout so they can swing it and put some runs on the board." More >
Trouble at third: Baltimore's Pedro Alvarez made just his sixth start at third base, where he has struggled throughout his career. That continued Saturday, when he committed two errors that led to three runs. In the first inning, Alvarez tried to backhand a shot down the line by Napoli that bounced off his glove, allowing two runs to score. A poor throw in the fifth led to a two-base error on a grounder by Juan Uribe, who later scored on a single by Gomes.
"It's been a challenge for him. Sometimes, he's really engaged in it and quick to the plate, and sometimes he's not. We've been harping on it since he's been here. It's been a challenge for him throughout his career." -- Showalter, on Jimenez allowing stolen bases
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one out in the sixth, Mark Trumbo pulled a Salazar pitch to deep left, where it appeared to strike the yellow foul line on the 19-foot wall. Trumbo was given a double, and that call was confirmed via a replay review after the Indians challenged the initial ruling. Wieters followed with a double of his own, scoring Trumbo from second base.
Tribe outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall (2-for-2 with a double, stolen base and run scored) exited the game in the middle of the fifth inning as a precaution due to blurred vision, according to the Indians. Utility man Michael Martinez pinch-hit for Chisenhall in the bottom of the fifth and took over in right field for Cleveland.
"When he slid into second [in the third], he got a ton of dirt in his eye," Francona said. "They flushed it out. It was still kind of blurry. I don't think they feel it was scratched or anything. It's hard to send a guy up to hit when one of your eyes is blurry."
Orioles: Right-hander Chris Tillman will toe the rubber in the series finale against the Indians on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. Tillman will be making his 11th start of the season. The 28-year-old hurler has gone at least six innings in each of his last seven starts, after struggling in his first three. In May, he is 4-0 with a 2.12 ERA in five starts.
Indians: Rookie right-hander Mike Clevinger (0-1, 8.71 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the third time in his career in Sunday's finale. On Monday, Clevinger gave up six runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in a five-inning road outing against the White Sox.
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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.