The story of the night should have been T.J. House’s rotation debut, but defensive miscues stole the show once again as the Indians fell 8-4 to the Orioles on Friday. House gave up five runs and wasn’t overly impressive in his first major league start, but he did pitch six innings to save the Tribe’s bullpen from further exhaustion. He allowed 11 hits, including two home runs, and walked two while striking out just one batter. Orioles starter Bud Norris gave up four runs on six hits and three walks, but struck out six on his way to his third win of the year.
Bottom of the 3rd, Indians trail 1-0
After Nelson Cruz blasted a solo home run in the second, the Orioles were able to add on in very the next inning. Nick Markakis, who was unstoppable all night, singled to left field to lead off the inning. House got Jonathan Schoop to fly out, but then hit Adam Jones with a pitch to bring up the dangerous Chris Davis. Davis doubled to score both runners, but House was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Top of the 4th, Indians trail 3-0
Bud Norris had allowed just one hit through the first three innings, but the Tribe broke through in the fourth. Michael Brantley singled and then scored on an RBI-double by Lonnie Chisenhall. Santana followed with a walk, and Jason Giambi came through with a towering three-run home run to give the Indians the lead.
Top of the 7th, Indians trail 5-4
House cost the Tribe the lead when he gave up a two-run home run to Davis in the fifth inning, but that wasn’t the deciding blow. After allowing a double to Jones, reliever Mark Lowe intentionally walked Davis. Lowe got Cruz to ground back to the mound – into what should have been an inning-ending double play – but he rushed his throw to second and sent the ball into center field instead. The Orioles scored on the error, scored again on a J.J. Hardy groundout, and then made it 8-4 on Delmon Young’s RBI-double to left field.
House really didn’t pitch as badly as it appears in the box score. The Orioles have a very strong lineup, and the hitters who did damage are some of the league’s best, with the home runs coming from players who usually lead the league in that particular category. He threw 68 percent of his pitches for strikes, and one of his walks was intentional. On the offensive side, Chisenhall went 2-for-4 with an RBI, bringing his average up to .381 this season.
Errors, errors and more errors. It seems as though this is discussed after every game. Officially, the Indians were only charged with one error, but there were also a couple of potential double plays that just weren’t turned. The defense must improve if they’re going to contend. The Tribe’s pitching staff isn’t good enough to compensate for that many mistakes.
Check It Out
– The Indians have now made 50 errors this season, which have lead to 30 unearned runs.
– The Tribe’s two third basemen are getting incredibly different results in at-bats where they fall behind in the count. When pitchers are ahead in the count against Chisenhall, he’s batting .421/.450/.627. In those same situations, Santana is batting just .024/.024/.048.
– The Indians overall have done a nice job at making opposing pitchers work. They are tied with the Twins for the second-highest walk total in the major league, with 181. The Orioles haven’t fared quite so well – they rank last, with just 105 walks all season.
– The two teams have a lengthy list of players who are considered day-to-day. Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher both sat out on Friday night with knee injuries, and the Orioles were missing superstar third baseman Manny Machado, who was removed from Thursday’s game with a groin injury. Machado also missed the first month of the season while rehabbing from knee surgery, so the Orioles are being especially cautious with him.7