American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, June 27th
(All times Eastern)
Cleveland Indians (40-37) at Baltimore Orioles (43-36), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cleveland - Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.68)
Baltimore - Miguel Gonzalez (5-3, 3.75)
(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Indians hope to move closer to the top of the
AL Central when they aim for a series win over the Baltimore Orioles Thursday
in the finale of a four-game set at Camden Yards.
The Indians are 2 1/2 games behind a Detroit Tigers club that can't seem to
solve the LA Angels of Anaheim, who have beaten the AL Central leaders eight
straight times. The Angels and Tigers will close their series Thursday.
Cleveland has taken two of the first three meetings with Baltimore, including
Wednesday's 4-3 win thanks to a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Michael
Brantley and Mike Aviles both scored on a fielder's choice.
Vinnie Pestano took the mound in the bottom half and shut the Orioles down in
order for his fifth save. Scott Kazmir was sharp through seven innings and
limited the hosts to a run and a hit with four strikeouts and a walk. Back
spasms prevented Kazmir from taking the hill in the eighth.
"I'll be good to go," Kazmir said. "It's just something that was more
frustrating and irritating than anything."
Joe Smith earned the win even though he allowed two runs and three hits in the
"This was one of those games where it would've been a killer loss, but it ends
up being a great win," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Jason Kipnis hit a two-run homer and veteran slugger Jason Giambi provided a
pair of hits for the Indians, winners in 10 of their last 14 games. Asdrubal
Cabrera was activated off the disabled list before the game and went 1-for-3
with a run scored. He had been bothered by a strained quadriceps.
In other injury news, closer Chris Perez is expected to be activated off the
DL because of a right shoulder injury. Perez hasn't pitched since May 26, a
6-5 loss at Boston in which he allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning.
"He's going to join us tomorrow," Francona said on Wednesday.
The Tribe will continue this 11-game road trip with a four-game weekend set
against the Chicago White Sox, followed by a three-game series at Kansas City.
Corey Kluber draws the start for Francona's club and will put his three-game
winning streak on the line. Kluber previously toed the rubber in last
Saturday's 8-7 win over Minnesota and yielded three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He
improved to 6-4 in 13 games (11 starts) to go along with a 3.68 ERA.
Kluber, a right-hander, has never faced the Orioles and is 4-2 on the road.
Baltimore has lost five of six games and fell 3 1/2 games behind Boston for
the AL East lead. The New York Yankees also lost on Wednesday and sit even
with the Orioles in the standings.
Jason Hammel pitched well in the no-decision and only allowed two runs and
four hits in seven innings. Jim Johnson was dealt the loss for giving up the
go-ahead runs in the ninth. Johnson spoiled Baltimore's two-run rally in the
eighth that gave the club a short-lived 3-2 lead.
"It's not just Jimmy," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "We had a tough time
solving Kazmir. Jimmy's been solid for us. He's a rock. And he'll be back, and
pitch, and be a part of contributing hopefully to a good club. Tonight, he
elevated the ball a little bit the first couple hitters, and then he pitched
real well after that."
Manny Machado ended 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in defeat.
The Orioles will host the Yankees for three games this weekend, but hope
Miguel Gonzalez can pitch them to a series split with Cleveland. Gonzalez had
a three-game winning streak stopped in last Saturday's 4-2 loss at Toronto and
permitted three runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Gonzalez, a right-hander, is now 5-3 in 13 starts with a 3.75 earned run
average and has made two career appearances (1 start) against the Indians,
going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA.
The Orioles and Indians split eight matchups a season ago.
06/27 10:23:17 ET