The Indians have been scuffling with the bats, but they found just enough offense to eke out a crucial 4-3 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday.
Cleveland will hope to build on that performance on Wednesday night, when it hosts the rubber game of a three-game series at Progressive Field. With Tuesday's win, the Indians pulled to within a half-game of the Orioles in the chase for the second American League Wild Card spot, currently held by the Rays.
Going into Tuesday, Cleveland had lost six of its previous seven, scoring two runs or fewer five times. It still managed only five hits in the middle game of the series, but did draw five walks.
With the loss, the Orioles fell to 3-5 on their nine-game road trip.
Zach Britton will try to become the latest pitcher to tame the Cleveland offense when he matches up against Zach McAllister on Wednesday. Britton (2-3, 4.76 ERA) is making only his seventh big league start of the season, and his first since July 9.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has elected to go with a six-man rotation for at least the next week, with the addition of Britton. The left-hander has struggled in the Majors this season, with 15 walks, 12 strikeouts and a 1.65 WHIP over 34 innings, lasting six innings in only two of six starts.
But he also is coming off his best start at Triple-A Norfolk, having held Charlotte to one run on five hits over seven innings, with no walks and eight strikeouts. Britton said he is excited for his latest chance.
"Another opportunity to come up here and show that I've made adjustments," he said. "Hopefully, [I'll] give this team some innings and give the other starters a little breather, which is nice in September."
McAllister (7-8, 3.81 ERA) hit a bump in the road last time out, giving up five runs in 3 2/3 innings on Friday at Detroit, with six hits and four walks. The righty had gone 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA over his previous three outings.
"I just wasn't aggressive in the strike zone," McAllister said. "I fell behind, and they were able to put balls in play when they knew fastballs were coming and they didn't miss them."
Orioles: Reinforcements arrive
Baltimore promoted infielders Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop, pitcher Josh Stinson and designated hitter Henry Urrutia on Tuesday, the club's latest additions following the expansion of rosters.
Flaherty has played 75 games for the Orioles this season, mostly at second base, and is hitting .218/.280/.364 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs. Urrutia, a rookie from Cuba, went 14-for-52 (.269) with no walks in one previous big league stint. Stinson has a 5.19 ERA in four appearances, including one start, after throwing a scoreless two-thirds of an inning on Tuesday.
This is the first callup for the 21-year-old Schoop, the organization's top position-player prospect. He hit .256/.301/.396 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 289 plate appearances with Norfolk while playing second base and shortstop. He also missed more than two months with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Indians: Pestano, Raburn among additions
Cleveland called up pitchers Carlos Carrasco, C.C. Lee, Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday and activated utility player Ryan Raburn from the 15-day disabled list.
Pestano began the year as the Tribe's setup man after posting a 2.45 ERA over the past two seasons, and the right-hander picked up six saves. But he also had a 4.05 ERA and walked 19 batters in 33 1/3 innings before getting demoted at the end of July.
Raburn had been on the DL since Aug. 19 because of a left Achilles strain, and he also had experienced right calf discomfort. The veteran, hitting .272/.366/.574 with 15 home runs, still is "not 100 percent," according to manager Terry Francona. He did run the bases "pretty well" before Tuesday's game.
• The season series is tied at 3 going into Wednesday's final meeting.
• Britton took the loss against the Indians on June 24 in Baltimore, giving up three runs on six hits over five innings, with three walks and a season-high five strikeouts.
• McAllister hasn't faced the Orioles this season after posting a 3.38 ERA in two matchups with them in 2012.