BALTIMORE — With three straight victories under his belt, Indians right-hander Corey Kluber trotted out his usual aggressive repertoire for the finale of a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
By the time a weird fifth inning was over, Kluber was in the dugout contemplating what went wrong, and the Orioles had rallied to take the lead. The resulting 7-3 defeat snapped Kluber’s streak and prevented the Indians from a fifth straight series victory for the first time since 2006.
“To start the game, he was real aggressive with his fastball, like he’s been,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Then, as the (fifth) inning unfolded, he started to go more with the breaking ball, pitching away from the fastball a little bit, and kind of paid the price for it. In this ballpark with that lineup, that’s what can happen. They’re sitting there always able to do that if you make a couple mistakes. That’s why it’s so important to be in attack mode.”
Kluber (6-5) was knocked around for seven runs on 11 hits in 4⅔ innings.
“Obviously, the line doesn’t look good and I didn’t give the team a very good chance to win with the way it ended up out there,” he said. “I didn’t feel like there was a lot of bad pitches, like I said, just the ones that I did make ended up kind of not being in the best situations for us.”
The pitch that may have undone him ended up being a swinging third strike that earned Baltimore’s Manny Machado an early shower.
Machado felt he let his team down by losing his temper. Instead, the second-year third baseman’s first career ejection, courtesy of home plate umpire Will Little, may have been the spark the Orioles needed.
Chris Davis drove in the tiebreaking run on a fielder’s-choice grounder in the wild five-run fifth. Baltimore used six hits and two errors to erase a 3-2 deficit, salvaging a split in the four-game series.
Machado wasn’t around to see the completion of the rally, something he said he regrets.
“I swung at a bad pitch (and) I thought I fouled it off,” Machado said. “Obviously, I looked back on the replay and I didn’t. Something that I said wrong to the umpire, and I have to pay the consequences for it. Let my team down — obviously, something that won’t happen again.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Machado would learn from his youthful transgression.
“I’ve seen 10-, 15-year veterans get frustrated with some calls,” Showalter said. “It’s all lessons learned. He’s 20 years old.”
Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy also had RBIs during the comeback.
“When you play teams like that, when you make a mistake or two, they can make you pay for it,” Francona said. “And that’s what happened.
Miguel Gonzalez (6-3) won for the fourth time in five decisions. He allowed three runs on nine hits over 6⅔ innings, walking none and matching a career high with nine strikeouts.
Lonnie Chisenhall and Mike Aviles homered for the Indians. Chisenhall had three hits.
Ryan Flaherty drove in two runs for Baltimore.
Chisenhall homered to right with two outs in the second, a 430-foot shot that landed on Eutaw Street and gave the Indians a 1-0 lead.
Baltimore went ahead 2-1 on Flaherty’s two-run single in the bottom of the inning. Davis drew a leadoff walk, Wieters singled and Hardy moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt before Flaherty’s two-out single up the middle.
The Indians tied it at 2 on Chisenhall’s double in the fourth. Michael Brantley doubled to lead off the inning and Chisenhall sent a ball off the right-field wall to plate him.
Aviles led off the fifth with a line-drive homer to left, his fifth of the season.
Cleveland’s lead, however, was short-lived.
“It happened so fast, same thing last night,” Chisenhall said. “It’s the way the AL East plays. Runs just show up on the board.”
Machado’s ejection for arguing a third-strike call ended a streak of 1,206 innings played, the longest active streak in the majors.
“When I heard about it, the streak I had going, obviously it’s devastating,” Machado said. “But I just caused that on myself. That’s something that ... that I just have to pay the consequences for, and I did.”
The game was delayed by rain for 78 minutes in the bottom of the seventh inning.
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