Peralta powers Indians past Orioles

BY foxsports • September 27, 2009

Jhonny Peralta delivered one tiebreaking hit, and reasoned he could do it again.

Peralta hit a game-ending RBI single Saturday night to give the Cleveland Indians a wild 9-8 win over Baltimore, extending the Orioles' losing streak to nine games.

"I went up there thinking about getting go-ahead hits," said Peralta, who had broken a 6-6 tie in the seventh with an RBI double. "I got a good pitch to hit and it felt good to get the win."

Luis Valbuena started the ninth with a single against Jim Johnson (4-6), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, and moved up on Shin-Soo Choo's groundout. Peralta then lined a 3-1 pitch to center to win it.

Johnson had blown saves in three of his five previous outings, including a loss Tuesday in Toronto.

"I thought he was the best available guy we had," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Some pitches he made didn't get the job done."

The Orioles, mired in their longest skid since dropping 10 straight Sept. 17-26, 2008, fell to 6-16 this September. Luke Scott and Michael Aubrey, both former Indians draft choices, hit two of Baltimore's three homers.

"I thought we were going to get one," Trembley said. "The hard ones are the ones you know you have the opportunity to win. You certainly don't like the results and it doesn't sit well with anybody."

Cleveland earned consecutive victories for the first time since Aug. 26-27. The Indians beat the Orioles 4-2 on Friday night to avoid tying the 78-year-old franchise record for consecutive losses at 12.

Peralta got three hits after going 1-for-31 in his previous eight games.

"I tried to forget the past," Peralta said. "Today was a new day and I did what I had to do."

Cleveland closer Kerry Wood (3-3) got the win after giving up two runs in the ninth for his sixth blown save. Baltimore loaded the bases on a single by Brian Roberts, walk to pinch-hitter Jeff Fiorentino and bloop single by Matt Wieters. Nick Markakis, in a 6-for-50 slump, and Melvin Mora, in a 2-for-24 slide, both hit sacrifice flies to tie it at 8.

The Orioles' rally came after the Indians scored four times in the seventh to erase a 6-4 deficit. Valbuena had a tying two-run double, Peralta followed with his go-ahead double and Andy Marte added a sacrifice fly.

Marte and Choo also homered for Cleveland, which finished with 15 hits. Jeremy Sowers gave up five runs and six hits in five innings.

Jason Berken lasted just 3 2-3 innings for the Orioles, yielding four runs and eight hits.

Baltimore scored five times in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. Scott hit his 25th homer and Robert Andino also connected.

An intermittent drizzle fell throughout and Sowers appeared to be bothered by a wet mound during the Orioles' rally. Trainer Lonnie Soloff twice visited the left-hander, who took warmup pitches and continued. During those delays, the grounds crew applied drying material to the mound and parts of the infield.

"I don't want to make excuses, it was a situation you have to deal with," said Sowers, who said his left hamstring cramped up while he was scraping mud off his spikes.

"It just sort of locked up," Sowers said. "I don't think it affected what I did, though you are already apprehensive because of the conditions. I lost focus."

Sowers was coming off the worst start of his career. He allowed six runs and nine hits in a career-low one inning in an 8-4 loss to Oakland last Saturday.

NOTES: Orioles OF Felix Pie sat out after straining left quad Friday night. He will be re-evaluated Monday when the Orioles begin a series at Tampa Bay. ... Indians RHP Joe Smith, out since Sept. 1 with a sore left knee, is expected to pitch a bullpen session Sunday and could be activated for the final week if all goes well. ... Orioles SS Cesar Izturis didn't play because he was "feeling under the weather," according to Trembley.

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