The Orioles ended their nine-game losing streak thanks to a surprising out from starter Alfredo Simon. The converted reliever went seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Simon's outing was even more impressive considering that he's heading to his native Dominican Republic today to attend a hearing on a New Year Day's shooting incident that left his cousin dead and another wounded. He may return to the States in time to make his next start, or he may not pitch another game in the majors.
The Orioles got on the board in the first inning with a double and two fly balls. They scored another off starter Carlos Carrasco in the fourth inning, and might have had a third run had the Indians not made two excellent throws to nail Derrek Lee at the plate. After the Indians tied the game with a two-run Michael Brantley double, Nick Markakis untied it with a home run in the bottom of the sixth. Carrasco would pitch the seventh, striking out the side, finishing off a good start all things considered. The Indians will be playing three games over the next 36 hours, and Carrasco's start means that the bullpen will be rested to start that tough stretch.
With the Indians down a run going into the eighth, Manny Acta brought Rafael Perez in to hold Baltimore where they were. But Perez allowed two straight doubles, and the deficit was now 4-2. Frank Herrmann was brought in, pitching around Matt Wieters in order to face Derrek Lee. Herrmann retired Lee, but ended up walking Mark Reynolds. That two-out walk came back to haunt the Indians, for Felix Pie doubled to bring in two more runs, and those runs would be crucial.
Orioles closer Kevin Gregg was brought in despite the team being up four runs, and he still almost blew it. After striking out Michael Brantley, he walked the bases loaded, bringing the tying run to the plate. He struck out Lonnie Chisenhall, bringing up Orlando Cabrera, who was in the midst of another extended slump. Cabrera came through, knocking a double into the right field gap, scoring three. That double will buy Cabrera some more time, though at this point I don't if he deserves any. Buck Showalter had seen enough, and brought in left-hander Mike Gonzalez to face Grady Sizemore. Sizemore hit the ball hard, but right at first baseman Lee to end the game.
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