The Indians could have ended this weekend two games up on the Detroit Tigers, but because of losses to the lowly Orioles on Saturday and Sunday, they're going into a week of crucial divisional matchups tied for first.
Baltimore sent to the mound Mitch Atkins, a 25-year-old with nine previous major-league appearances to his credit, and after the first inning ended, it looked as though this start would mirror his poor major-league history. After Atkins retired the first two batters of the game, Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana hit back-to-back home runs. After Santana's blast was reviewed and confirmed to be fair, Grady Sizemore dumped a ball down the left field line. Sizemore made it into second base because the throw was wild, but just after rounding first base, he injured his knee. Grady would leave the game with an injury classified as a "right knee contusion," and may return to Cleveland for further tests. It looks like there's a very good chance he'll end up back on the Disabled List. Ezequiel Carrera pinch-ran for Sizemore, and scored on Travis Buck's single. The Indians wouldn't score again, even though Atkins would last just two more innings.
Jeanmar Gomez had a 3-0 lead before he made a pitch, but couldn't hold the lead. He would give up three home runs in just 5.1 innings of work, the most devastating being Robert Andino's three-run shot in the fifth. He's slated to stick in the rotation, but a good outing from David Huff tomorrow could change some minds.
Despite facing six innings of one of the worst bullpens in the AL, the Indians couldn't even start a comeback. They loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out, but Travis Buck's shot back up the middle was corralled by Jim Johnson and was turned into a force out at home. The Orioles would score two more runs in the bottom of the inning to put the game out of reach.
Conventional wisdom states that a 2-2 split of a road series is almost always a good thing. Given that the Indians won the first two games of the series, that this series was against one of the worst teams in baseball, and how small their margin in the standings is, this particular 2-2 road split feels nothing like a victory.
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