Brantley leads Indians past Orioles
Michael Brantley took care of the offense, and Cleveland’s bullpen did the rest.
Brantley homered and had four RBIs, and the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Monday night for their ninth win in 12 games.
Brantley put the Indians ahead with a two-run single in the sixth inning, and Cleveland’s relievers made the lead stand up by throwing 3 2/3 innings of one-hit ball.
“Our bullpen was phenomenal,” manager Terry Francona said.
Just for good measure, Brantley made it 5-2 with a two-run shot in the eighth off Darren O’Day. His four RBIs tied a career high, reached twice previously.
Nick Swisher had two hits and scored a run for the Indians, and former Oriole Mark Reynolds went 1 for 2 with two walks. The victory improved Cleveland’s record against the AL East to 7-17 and provided an uplifting start to an 11-game road trip.
Ubaldo Jimenez (6-4) allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings before Rich Hill, Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith combined for 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Vinnie Pestano wrapped it up by working the ninth for his fourth save.
Hill came in with a 7.58 ERA, but retired all three batters he faced.
“When Rich Hill pitches like that, it complements our whole bullpen,” Francona said. “He’s thrown the ball pretty good the last few times out. Getting him on a roll will really help our bullpen.”
Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters homered for the Orioles, who have lost four straight.
Zach Britton (1-2) allowed only two hits through five innings and took a 2-0 lead into the sixth before faltering. He left before getting an out and with Baltimore trailing 3-2.
“Just elevated some balls, lost his command,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I thought he pitched well for five innings but different stuff showed up there in the sixth.”
Jason Kipnis led off with a double and scored on a single by Swisher. Carlos Santana followed with a double to put runners at second and third, and after Reynolds received an intentional walk, Brantley grounded a single up the middle to chase Britton.
“Early in the game I was able to make pitches with guys on base, executing a little bit better,” Britton said. “I think I was trying to do too much after that leadoff double and things kind of escalated right there.”
Brantley understood why the Orioles walked Reynolds to get to him.
“Obviously, they were playing strategy,” he said. “Left-hander on the mound and I’m a left-handed hitter. I just wanted to make sure I did what I could for my team, get that run in from third. I was lucky to get a single up the middle.”