The last-place Cleveland Indians appear to be on track after sweeping the Central Division leaders.
The Baltimore Orioles are headed in the opposite direction.Cleveland looks to keep rolling when it opens a four-game road series against the Orioles on Thursday night.The Indians (22-25) had been outscored 34-8 during a four-game skid before pulling out three consecutive wins over Detroit. Michael Brantley went 4 for 7 and combined with David Murphy for seven RBIs as Cleveland stormed back to win 11-10 on a bases-loaded balk in the 13th inning Wednesday."Obviously a team like that who's going to be atop the division race all year, to have good games against them is very, very important when September rolls around and you're fighting for every game," reliever Cody Allen told MLB's official website. "To play well against them is always big, so hopefully this can catapult us going forward."The Indians, who allowed four runs in the top of the first, also fell behind 9-7 in the eighth and 10-9 in the 13th."A few weeks ago, we really didn't show a whole lot of fight," said Murphy, who sent the game into extras with a two-run homer in the ninth. "The type of day that we had, nobody is going to say die. Nobody is going to throw in the towel. Nobody is going to throw away at-bats. Everybody is going to go up there and fight until it's over."Josh Tomlin has been scheduled to start this game, but the Indians were forced to go to him Wednesday. The right-hander went on to earn the victory after pitching the final three innings.Cleveland has yet to name Tomlin's replacement.Losers of seven of 10, the Orioles (23-21) wrapped up a 3-3 trip with a 9-8 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Nelson Cruz stayed hot with three hits -- including his team-leading 14th homer -- and three RBIs, but Chris Tillman was chased after surrendering eight runs over an inning-plus."Any loss is a loss. We've got to focus on what we did positive," Cruz told the team's official website about an offense that has scored 23 runs over the past three games. "We scored a few runs and gave the pitchers a chance to throw some good innings."Cruz is batting .333 with four homers and 11 RBIs in a seven-game stretch.The Orioles now turn to Wei-Yin Chen (5-2, 3.69 ERA), who is looking to win a third straight start for the second time this season. The left-hander yielded one run and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 2-1 victory at Kansas City last Thursday.Chen owns a 3.12 home ERA, compared to 4.43 on the road. He gave up six runs over 6 1/3 innings of a 7-2 loss to Cleveland on June 28, 2012 in his only appearance in the series.Chen will try to shut down Brantley, who is batting .429 with two homers and six RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak. The left fielder has recorded at least a hit in all but one of his last 19 games."I think as good hitters get to know themselves throughout the league, sometimes that evolves into more production," manager Terry Francona said. "I think that's what you're seeing."Brantley, 2 for 2 with a double against Chen, has batted .330 in 25 career games against Baltimore.Cleveland took four of seven from the Orioles last year.
The Indians won 2 straight games, each in 13 innings. Yesterday they beat the Tigers, today they beat the Orioles.
From Elias: The only time in their franchise's history they won consecutive games that each lasted at least 13 innings was 1935 in their first 2 games that season against the St. Louis Browns (who became the Orioles) and against the Tigers. Each of the games that year went 14 innings.