CLEVELAND (AP) – Shaun Marcum described his season as a “roller coaster” ride. The same could be said about the entire Indians team.
Right-hander Chris Tillman earned his first win in seven weeks, allowing two runs in 6 1-3 innings, as the Baltimore Orioles beat Cleveland 5-2 on Friday.
Marcum (2-1) also went 6 1-3 innings, but allowed a leadoff homer to Adam Jones in the sixth that gave the Orioles a 3-2 advantage. The righty struck out four and walked one in his first big league loss since July 6, 2013.
“I felt great this year when I was (at Triple-A) Columbus, so I didn’t expect it to be this way up here,” said Marcum, whose ERA through four starts is 5.19. “My mechanics and my arm slot and everything felt better today than it did in my last start, but I made one bad pitch up in the zone. Jones put a good swing on it and he made me pay.”
Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley each had RBI singles for the Indians, who have won 12 of their last 17 games, but fell to 10-15 at Progressive Field. Cleveland also failed in its bid to reach .500 for the first time since April 10.
The Indians were 12-21 on May 14, but are 14-7 since and have climbed out of last place in the AL Central.
“Shaun has so much deception and knows what he’s doing on the mound, and I thought he was real good early on,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “As Baltimore saw him a couple of times, that started to change. This ballpark was playing big tonight, but obviously, it wasn’t big enough for Jones.”
Indians reliever Zach McAllister allowed two runs in the eighth to give the Orioles a three-run cushion. Tillman (3-7) snapped a career-long six-game losing streak for Baltimore, while Zach Britton worked a scoreless ninth to earn his 15th save.
David Murphy doubled to start the bottom of the sixth for Cleveland, but was thrown out one batter later on a base-running mistake. Lonnie Chisenhall hit a grounder to Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who threw out the potential tying run in Murphy at third.
“My train of thought was the shift was on, so the ball was going to get through,” said Murphy, who went 2 for 3. “I didn’t realize that it wouldn’t be a good result until it was too late.”
WHO’S AT SHORT?
Cleveland SS Mike Aviles started his third straight game in place of the slumping Jose Ramirez. “With Ramirez, we’re trying to balance winning games with developing a young player,” Francona said. “I thought he was coming out of it 10 days ago, but he’s struggling now.” The 22-year-old Ramirez is hitting .184 with a .252 on-base percentage.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (oblique) was in the lineup for the first time since May 31. His only appearance in Baltimore’s four-game series in Houston was as a defensive replacement Thursday.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley (back soreness), was has been bothered by the injury since March, served as the designated hitter for the second game in a row. He went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, who helped the Indians qualify for the 2013 playoffs, looks for his third win in four starts. He struck out eight in six-plus innings Monday in a no-decision at Houston.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar is 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts at Progressive Field this season. He lost his only career appearance against Baltimore last year, allowing two runs in five innings.
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