Sheldon Ocker


CLEVELAND: In baseball, the world can turn upside down in 48 hours.



After Tuesday nights loss in Cincinnati, the Indians looked like a thoroughly befuddled team, having lost seven of eight, including two in a row to their downstate rivals.



By 9:30 Thursday night, the perception of the club as the Woebegone Wahoos had disappeared.



It took only a 5-2 win over the Reds Wednesday night and Thursday nights 7-1 strafing of well-regarded starter Homer Bailey to do the trick.



Bailey came into the game with a 3-3 record and 3.08 ERA, and for three innings he looked like his fourth win might be forthcoming. Bailey allowed only two base runners in the first third of the game, Yan Gomes, who beat out an infield hit, and Ryan Raburn, who walked.



But in the fourth, the sky fell on Bailey, who hit Asdrubal Cabrera leading off the inning. He struck out Nick Swisher but allowed a single to Carlos Santana before the rally went on life support with Mark Reynolds strikeout.



However, Reynolds would be the last batter Bailey retired. The next five hitters hit safely, after which Bailey quietly left the scene. Alfredo Simon replaced him and gave up another hit before getting the third out.



It was a stunning turn of events for the Indians, who amassed seven runs and seven hits in the fourth inning.



Six players drove in runs; Michael Bourn was the only hitter to drive in two, delivering a double to score the fourth and fifth runs. Michael Brantley, Gomes, Raburn, Jason Kipnis and Cabrera hit safely to drive in the rest.



We were having a tough time breaking out, Indians manager Terry Francona said. Then Brantley hit that line drive [single], and we kept extending the inning.



Added Raburn, Brantley opened the door for us with that two-out hit, and the rest of us followed suit.



Usually when the Tribe goes on a binge at the plate, at least one or two drives sail over the outfield fence for home runs. Not this time. Of the Indians 11 hits, eight were singles. Raburn, Cabrera and Bourn produced doubles.



Raburn became a casualty, leaving the game after the fourth with cramps in his calf, an affliction he said he seldom encounters.



No, thats whats weird about it, he said. I had cramps in a game last week, too. You just try to deal with it.



Probably the most intriguing element of the rally is that the Tribe delivered six hits in a row after two were out. In Wednesday nights win, the Indians got four hits in a row with two outs, scoring three times in the sixth inning. The difference between the two game-winning rallies: The key blow Wednesday night was Jason Giambis home run.



The only Tribe batter with three hits was Gomes, who hadnt played since last Saturday in Boston. In addition to his RBI single in the fourth and infield single in the third, Gomes singled again in the eighth to raise his average to .319.



Any time you can keep Carlos Santana in the lineup without having him catch, its like saving on gas, Francona said.



Gomes took over behind the plate, and Santana was the designated hitter.



The other part of the equation was the pitching of Scott Kazmir. Not only did he hold the Reds to one run and eight hits, he did something he hadnt done in three years.



It was the first time that Kazmir (3-2, 5.13 ERA) lasted seven innings since May 22, 2010, in St. Louis, when he was part of the Los Angeles Angels rotation.



It might not seem like a major achievement for a major-league starter to pitch seven innings, but Kazmir was trying to correct serious mechanical flaws last year on an independent league team near Houston.



To be able to stretch it out that far was good, he said. There were a couple of games that some things didnt go my way, or I might have got there.



Kazmir had only one problematic inning, the third, when the Reds loaded the bases with one out on three singles with Joey Votto on his way to the plate. But Kazmir induced him to bounce into a double play to end the inning.



I was really, really impressed, Francona said of Kazmir. He just kept sticking his fastball in there, locating it.



Kazmir said all of his pitches were working, but his fastball was key.



I was attacking the strike zone, he said. Once I did that, I was able to expand the zone.



Sheldon Ocker can be reached at socker@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.