Travis Hafner returned to the Indians lineup on Tuesday evening and immediately made an impact. Batting fifth, he went 2-4 with a walk, as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Baltimore Orioles 6-1.
Jeremy Sowers put together a string of 10 straight batters twice and picked up the win, going eight strong innings, giving up four hits, a walk, one earned run, and recording seven strikeouts in victory. While the Indians scored six, it wasn’t in their normal breakout style.
They pecked away, putting up one in every inning but the second, sixth, and ninth. None of the runs came via the long ball. In the first, Grady Sizemore got the Indians rolling by taking a walk and swiping second, his 37th stolen base on the season. With two out, Jhonny Peralta singled, scoring Sizemore.
Travis Hafner registered his first hit during his first at bat, singling Peralta to second, but the Indians could do no more damage, even though they loaded the bases on a Kelly Shoppach walk. Michael Aubrey flied out to end the inning. In the fifth, Aubrey came through.
With two out and Peralta and Hafner on first and second, Aubrey singled to center, scoring Peralta. The Indians would manufacture a run in the fourth as well. Asdrubal Cabrera walked, and then ended up scoring on a David Dellucci triple. The Orioles scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Nick Markakis walked.
Aubrey Huff doubled, and Ramon Hernandez grounded out, scoring Markakis. The Indians continued their one-run wonder innings in the fifth, seventh, and eighth. In the fifth, doubles by Shoppach and Marte resulted in a run.
The seventh it was Shoppach again crossing the plate, this time via a walk, an Aubrey single, a Marte single, and a Cabrera sacrifice fly. In the eighth, Shoppach was on the other end of the run, driving in Franklin Gutierrez with a double, after he singled to right and Hafner was intentionally walked, putting runners on first and second.
Overall, a very good night by Shoppach. He ended the day two for three, scored a pair, and drove in one. Baltimore used six pitchers in this one. Starter Radhames Liz took the loss, going 4.2 while surrendering eight hits and four runs. All told, the Indians tallied 12 hits. Marte got two of the hits, raising his batting average to .207 on the year.
The Orioles and Indians go at it two more times in this four-game set. Wednesday night marks Scott Lewis MLB debut. He’ll go against Chris Waters. Game time is 7:05. Assuming the addition of Lewis to the starting rotation of the Tribe means they’ll go six for the rest of the season, Cliff Lee would not get enough starts to reach 25 wins.
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