CLEVELAND (AP) - Orioles reliever Brian Matusz intended to throw his pitch off the plate, down in the dirt, anywhere so Mike Aviles couldn’t hit it.
When it flew over the left-field wall and landed on the pedestrian walkway, Matusz knew he had made a big mistake.
One he couldn’t fix.
“I was trying to bounce it on the plate and it was a little bit up,” Matusz said. “He put a pretty good swing on it.”
Aviles drove a 1-2 pitch from Matusz over the fence in the 11th inning to give the Cleveland Indians a 2-1 win over Baltimore, which rallied late against Corey Kluber to force extras.
The loss was just the fourth in 13 games for the AL East-leading Orioles.
Baltimore was held to just one run in 7 2-3 innings by Kluber, who has been the league’s best pitcher in the second half and is making a strong run at the Cy Young.
Still, the Orioles tied it in the eighth on J.J. Hardy’s two-out RBI single before the Indians recorded their ninth walk-off win.
“It’s unfortunate to get matched up against a guy who’s pitching as well as anybody in baseball,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We were right there, one swing away.”
Scott Atchison (6-0) retired all six batters and capped a night when the Indians got another big outing from Kluber, who struck out 10 and has allowed just four runs in 47 2-3 innings over six second-half starts.
With the Orioles trailing 1-0 in the eighth, Adam Jones squared to bunt with one out and appeared to be hit on the right hand. He shook his fingers in pain and Showalter came onto the field to protest that Jones should be awarded first.
Showalter convinced the umpires to look at the video tape, and after a lengthy delay, it was determined the play was not reviewable because first-base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled Jones had offered at the pitch.
“We challenged it and we were right,” Showalter said. “Kulpa said he’s got him offering at the pitch, which is not reviewable. I just wish they would saved us all a lot of time. You can’t review check-swings, so to speak. If you look at it, I’m not real sure he offered at it anyway.”
Jones didn’t want to talk about the play, but was clearly unhappy with the outcome.
“I plead the Fifth,” he said. “I think being smart in what you say will help you in the long run. I’d rather take the high road tonight.”