Reimold delivers pinch-hit, walk-off HR as O’s sweep Indians
— The Baltimore Orioles walked off Sunday afternoon and secured the top record in the American League in the process.
Nolan Reimold connected for a pinch-hit, twoout, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to break a tie and deliver the Orioles a thrilling 5-3 victory and complete the three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards.
With the win, Baltimore (57-40) jumped Cleveland (56-41) for the top mark in the AL.
“I figured he would try to throw a fastball there and I was ready for it in case he did,” said Reimold, who deposited a 2-0 fastball from closer Cody Allen over the left field wall. “I was glad it was in a big moment.”
After Pedro Alverez led off the bottom of the ninth
inning by reaching base on a dropped third strike and throwing error by the catcher, Ryan Flaherty advanced the runner to second base on a sacrifice bunt, before Caleb Joseph struck out swinging.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter then pinch-hit the right-handed batting Reimold for left-handed batter Julio Borbon despite Allen being a righthanded thrower. “I was actually pretty surprised [to get the call to pinch hit],” Reimold said. “I was down underneath ready to pinch run in case he wanted to do that. I wasn’t really expecting to hit with the righty out there but I’m glad he did pinch hit me.”
Reimold’s blast, his fifth of the year, marked the fourth walk-off victory for the Orioles this season. It also represented the first pinch-hit walk-off home run for Baltimore since Chris Davis con- nected for a game-winning, three-run home run in a 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on June 23, 2014.
“Normally, I probably would have had [Reimold] pinch run for [Alverez] there. And if Caleb would have walked we would have stayed with the [faster] Borbon to stay out of the double play,” Showalter said. “I think the key to it was laying off the two breaking balls and getting into a hitter’s count where you can get the fastball.”
The ninth inning heroics backed a strong outing by starting pitcher Vance Worley, who earned a nodecision after he threw a season-high seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
He walked off the mound with a one-run lead after Jonathan Schoop put the Orioles ahead, 3-2, one inning prior with a solo home run to left field. Worley retired the final 11 batters he faced and out-dueled Indians ace Corey Kluber, who entered with nine wins and a 3.42 ERA.
“Worley was the story of the day,” Showalter said. “He was outstanding.”
Worley, making his second consecutive start after being added to the rotation from the bullpen, tossed a seasonhigh 102 pitches, of which 66 were for strikes. It proved to be a much stronger showing than his previous outing when he lasted just 4 1-3 innings in an eventual 7-1 loss to the New York Yankees on July 19.
“I’m happier with it than the last outing. I was able to go a little deeper and utilize all my pitches today and rely on my defense behind me. Overall it was a good team win,” Worley said. “I was able to use all my pitches to both sides and feel confident in all of them. I think today we threw more curveballs and more changeups to keep guys off balanced instead of fastballs and cutters.”
Worley’s effort continued a strong second-half for the Orioles’ maligned starting rotation, which posted a 5-4 record with a 2.94 ERA over the previous 11 games prior to Sunday.
The Indians eventually tied the game one inning after Worley departed when they scored an unearned run off reliever Brad Brach in the top of the eighth. After Jason Kipnis led off with a single and Lindor reached on a fielder’s choice and error by Schoop to put two runners on base, Mike Napoli delivered a run-scoring single to left field. However, Brach got the next batter to fly out, before inducing Lonnie Chisenhall (2-for-4) to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Orioles reliever Darren O’Day, in his return from a long stay on the disabled list, struck out the side in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied and set the stage for Reimold’s home run.
After both starters traded zeros for three innings, both teams scored twice in the fourth. The Indians jumped on the board when Jose Ramirez walked and Chisenhall singled with no outs. Rookie Tyler Naquin later plated Ramirez with a one-out double to left field, before Roberto Perez delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Baltimore then found the scoreboard when Schoop led off of the bottom of frame with a double, before scoring on a single by Manny Machado up the middle. The Orioles then knotted the score when Machado, who eventually advanced to third, crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice ground out by Alverez.
Alverez, the designated hitter, was originally called out at first base on the backend of an inning-ending double play, but a manager’s challenge revealed he touched first before the ball hit the back of the fielder’s glove, allowing the run to score and the inning to continue.
“Obviously, wins are huge,” Alverez said. “Against a good team like Cleveland, those were huge wins.”
Follow Jordan Schatz on Twitter: @Jordan_Whig