June 29, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Shelley Duncan (47) hits a one-run RBI double in the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Indians 9 - 8. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
The Indians once again pounced on a Baltimore starter and cruised through the rest of the game.
The Indians caught the Yankees at the wrong time, but it looks like they caught the Orioles at the right. Their rotation is in disarray, and the Tribe hitters took full advantage. Today's starter was Brian Matusz, who started his career on a decent footing but since 2011 has been awful. He entered today's game not only with a 5.24 ERA, but averaging only a little over 5.1 innings per start. The Indians jumped on him today as well, and with hitters that hadn't exactly been tearing the cover off the ball. Shelley Duncan hit a solo homer in the second inning to start the scoring, and Aaron Cunningham(!) hit one out to lead off the third.
The Indians struck their big blow in the third, hit three straight doubles to begin the inning. Jose Lopez, Duncan, and Casey Kotchman's two-baggers made the score 4-0, and a later Lou Marson groundout pushed the score to 5-0. Matusz would be pulled two batters into the fifth.
Meanwhile Justin Masterson cruised through the Baltimore order. He retired the first twelve batters in order. Adam Jones hit a bouncing grounder to shortstop to lead off the fifth but Jason Donald (who was giving Asdrubal Cabrera a quaisi-day off) let the ball go off his mitt for an error. After retiring the next two batters, Masterson then induced a bloop off the bat of Ryan Flaherty that fell a couple feet in front of center fielder Aaron Cunningham. We'll never know what would have happened had either of those two plays been made, as Masterson had been a machine to that point. He would finish his day allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits and no walks in 7 innings. He's back to where he was last year, and that's an excellent sign going into the second half.
Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez, who was called up today in order to save the bullpen, did an excellent job in keeping the Orioles somewhat in the game. He took over for Matusz in the fifth and pitched scoreless ball until he tired in the ninth. The Indians that inning tacked on an extra run, but it wasn't needed. Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez finished things off with a scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
The Indians finished their longest road trip of the season 4-6, certainly not the record you'd want to have, but given how it looked going into this series (1-5), 4-6 doesn't look so bad.