CLEVELAND (AP) Orioles reliever Brian Matusz intended to throw his pitch off the plate, down in the dirt, anywhere so Mike Aviles couldn’t hit it.
When it flew over the left-field wall and landed on the pedestrian walkway, Matusz knew he had made a big mistake.
One he couldn’t fix.
”I was trying to bounce it on the plate and it was a little bit up,” Matusz said. ”He put a pretty good swing on it.”
Aviles drove a 1-2 pitch from Matusz over the fence in the 11th inning to give the Cleveland Indians a 2-1 win over Baltimore, which rallied late against Corey Kluber to force extras.
The loss was just the fourth in 13 games for the AL East-leading Orioles.
Baltimore was held to just one run in 7 2-3 innings by Kluber, who has been the league’s best pitcher in the second half and is making a strong run at the Cy Young.
Still, the Orioles tied it in the eighth on J.J. Hardy’s two-out RBI single before the Indians recorded their ninth walk-off win.
”It’s unfortunate to get matched up against a guy who’s pitching as well as anybody in baseball,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ”We were right there, one swing away.”
Scott Atchison (6-0) retired all six batters and capped a night when the Indians got another big outing from Kluber, who struck out 10 and has allowed just four runs in 47 2-3 innings over six second-half starts.
With the Orioles trailing 1-0 in the eighth, Adam Jones squared to bunt with one out and appeared to be hit on the right hand. He shook his fingers in pain and Showalter came onto the field to protest that Jones should be awarded first.
Showalter convinced the umpires to look at the video tape, and after a lengthy delay, it was determined the play was not reviewable because first-base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled Jones had offered at the pitch.
”We challenged it and we were right,” Showalter said. ”Kulpa said he’s got him offering at the pitch, which is not reviewable. I just wish they would saved us all a lot of time. You can’t review check-swings, so to speak. If you look at it, I’m not real sure he offered at it anyway.”
Jones didn’t want to talk about the play, but was clearly unhappy with the outcome.
”I plead the Fifth,” he said. ”I think being smart in what you say will help you in the long run. I’d rather take the high road tonight.”
Indians manager Terry Francona felt Showalter was ”freezing the kicker” and trying to rattle the stoic Kluber, who wasn’t pleased with the stoppage.
”If that was his intent, that’s not good for the game,” Kluber said. ”That’s not why we have the replay system.”
Jones grounded back to Kluber for the second out before Nelson Cruz singled off the right-hander, who has been on a remarkable run during the season’s second half. Delmon Young singled and Hardy, who missed the previous four games with a sprained left thumb, also singled, with Cruz scoring ahead of center fielder Michael Brantley’s throw to the plate.
The Orioles dropped to 9-15 against the AL Central, but are 60-36 against the rest of baseball.
IN THE PARK
Baltimore had a rare homer-less game. The Orioles lead the majors with 152 homers. They’re on pace to hit more than 200 homers, something they’ve done seven previous times, including the past two seasons.
Orioles: 3B Manny Machado (sprained right knee) is traveling with the team, but there’s no timetable for his return. Machado was injured during an at-bat Monday against the Yankees. Machado began the season on the DL recovering from surgery on his left knee.
Former Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8) faces his ex-teammates for the second time this season. Jimenez went 13-9 for Cleveland last season before signing with Baltimore as a free agent. He’ll face RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-4), making his second start since returning to Cleveland’s rotation.