BALTIMORE (AP) — There was something fundamentally wrong with the Cleveland Indians’ performance in a 5-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
A botched throw by catcher Roberto Perez enabled Pedro Alvarez to reach after a ninth-inning strikeout, and Nolan Reimold followed with a two-out homer to give the Orioles a three-game sweep of the AL Central leaders.
Cleveland reliever Cody Allen (2-4) began the ninth by striking out Alvarez, but the ball eluded Perez. After fielding the bouncing ball off the backstop, Perez hit Alvarez in the helmet with the throw for an error.
The Indians’ catchers often practice the throw to first after a dropped third strike, but Perez still evidently has some work to do.
“I don’t think he rushed. He didn’t move his feet,” manager Terry Francona said. “We talk to him about that all the time. You don’t want somebody to learn a lesson the hard way, and he did.”
A sacrifice bunt and a strikeout followed before Reimold lined a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats.
“I was taking the first pitch, trying to get comfortable,” Reimold said. “After that, I got up 2-0 and I was ready to hit. I figured he would try to throw a fastball there.”
Activated from the disabled list before the game, Darren O’Day (7-1) struck out the side in the ninth.
Cleveland lost the season series to AL East-leading Baltimore 5-1 after being outscored 15-6 in these three games at Camden Yards.
“Every time you go anywhere and get swept it’s not a good thing,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “This was a closer ballgame, more what we expected how we should be playing. We put up a battle there.”
Filling a void at the end of the Baltimore rotation, Vance Worley allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings. Making his fourth start, the right-hander retired the final 11 batters he faced in his longest outing since September 2014, with Pittsburgh against Milwaukee.
Worley left with a 3-2 lead, but All-Star reliever Brad Brach promptly allowed an unearned run in the eighth. After Jonathan Schoop fumbled a grounder to second base, Mike Napoli snapped an 0-for-11 skid with an RBI single.
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings. He struck out eight,
The Indians went up 2-0 in the fourth on an RBI double by Tyler Naquin and a sacrifice fly by Perez, who earlier got his first hit in 17 at-bats this season.
Baltimore tied it in the bottom half, courtesy of an overturned call following a challenge by the Orioles. After Manny Machado singled in a run, Alvarez hit into an apparent inning-ending double play with runners on the corners. But he earned an RBI after a replay review showed he was safe at first base.
After hitting a double and scoring Baltimore’s first run in the fourth inning, Schoop delivered a solo shot in the fifth for a 3-2 lead. It was his career-high 17th home run, eclipsing the 16 he hit in 2014.
BALL THREE, NOT FOUR
Machado was picked off first base in the eighth inning after Chris Davis took a pitch outside the strike zone, dropped his bat and headed from the batter’s box. Davis thought it was ball four, but the count actually moved to 3-2. Machado was swayed by his teammate’s action and strayed off the base before being thrown out by Perez.
Indians: 3B Juan Uribe returned to the starting lineup for the first time since being hit in the head with a pitch on Friday night.
Orioles: OF Hyun Soo Kim (hamstring) began a two-day rehabilitative assignment with Double-A Bowie. If all goes well, he will be activated from the DL on Tuesday. … C Matt Wieters missed a sixth straight game with a foot injury. … The wife of Ubaldo Jimenez had a baby. He went on paternity leave Saturday and will likely use all three days.
Indians: Cleveland gets Monday off before opening a two-game interleague series at home against the Washington Nationals.
Orioles: Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.69 ERA) takes on the visiting Colorado Rockies in the opener of a three-game series Monday night.
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