CLEVELAND: The Indians’ offense has picked up just a tad the past two games.
Or maybe it’s not the attack in general but the return of Ryan Raburn and the contributions of Yan Gomes. Together, they had four hits and four RBI, as the Tribe beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-4 to win the series two games to one.
Raburn has been on the disabled list with a sore Achilles. Gomes has been doing his part, but his achievements seemed to get lost in the morass that has been the Tribe offense the past five weeks.
Wednesday night, Gomes doubled, singled twice and had two RBI; Raburn doubled home two runs.
“They’ve been some of our most productive players,” manager Terry Francona said. “That’s why we are where we are.”
It was Raburn’s first start since Aug. 18. In his past four games, Gomes is 6-for-14 with three doubles, a home run and four RBI.
“It’s been really kind of exciting to watch Gomes,” Francona aid. “His play has not dropped off. Sometimes you see a [young] player go through the league once, then pitchers start to adjust to him.
“He’s made adjustments, and his defense [behind the plate] is even better. It seems like he makes his best throws when we need it most.”
There were no hints in the early innings that Zach McAllister would be out of the game before the end of the fifth inning.
Granted, he gave up a towering home run to Adam Jones with one out in the fourth, but that appeared to be a single errant pitch, the farthest thing from an emerging pattern.
With one out in the fifth, McAllister began to cave, giving up a double to J.J. Hardy. But he struck out Ryan Flaherty for the second out, calming the waters.
However, Brian Roberts drew a walk and McAllister heaved a wild pitch past Gomes to put Hardy on third and Roberts on second. Manny Machado then whacked a 2-and-2 pitch over the center-field fence for three more runs that tied the score. And when Chris Davis followed with a single, McAllister’s work night was over.
“I fell behind some guys and they made me pay for it,” McAllister said. “They don’t miss pitches when you leave them in the strike zone.”
It was the second consecutive start in which McAllister has struggled. Last weekend against the Detroit Tigers, he gave up five runs in 3⅔ innings. Including his outing against the Orioles, opposing batters have nicked him for nine runs and 11 hits in 8⅓ innings.
Until these two starts, McAllister had yielded three or fewer runs in all but one of his 17 outings.
Zach Britton had even less success than McAllister, allowing four runs and six hits in 2⅓ innings.
The Tribe jumped to a 4-0 advantage in the first inning, though they came within one out of wasting a golden opportunity.
After loading the bases with nobody out, Carlos Santana struck out, but Gomes delivered an RBI hit to right and keep the bases loaded. Asdrubal Cabrera slapped a routine ground ball to third, and Machado forced Nick Swisher at the plate for the second out.
It took Raburn and Mike Aviles to save the inning, Raburn by ripping a two-run double to right and Aviles by delivering a single to left to drive in the fourth run.
“It looked like they might get out of it giving up only one run,” Francona said. “Raburn had a big hit; Gomes had a big hit.”
After the Orioles tied the score in the fifth, the Tribe untied it in the bottom half of the inning against Kevin Gausman.
Jason Kipnis delivered a one-out single and moved to second on a walk to Santana, and Gomes came through again, this time with an RBI double that moved Santana to third.
Gausman made sure that Santana reached the plate by throwing a wild pitch.
“That was the biggest turning point,” said Cody Allen, who pitched 1⅓ innings in relief. “They got three to tie and we got two right away to go ahead.”
In contrast to Tuesday night, Chris Perez worked the ninth and retired the side in order to earn his 22nd save. In Tuesday night’s game, Perez started the ninth with a 4-0 lead but gave up a three-run homer before getting three outs.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.