CLEVELAND -- With some help from their lucky chicken, the Cleveland Indians passed some other birds in the wild-card race.
Gomes and Ryan Raburn drove in two runs apiece as Cleveland beat
Baltimore 6-4 and jumped the Orioles on Wednesday night in the scramble
to win one of the AL's two wild-card spots.
The live chicken,
presented as a gift to reliever Cody Allen, was on the field for batting
The bird, supplied by clubhouse workers from an area farm,
was given to Allen, who was nicknamed "Chicken Al" by pitcher Frank
Herrmann in spring training.
The chicken has been named "Cody."
manager Terry Francona said the chicken will be returned safely to the
farm, the bird may have to make a return engagement as the Indians continue their playoff push.
we get on roll, that's going to be our mascot," Raburn said. "Whoever's
the owner of it, we're going to have to keep that sucker if we keep
winning. We're going to have to get him his own locker."
chicken, carried on the field by staff ace Justin Masterson, spent most
of batting practice standing with Cleveland's pitchers in front of the
warning track in center field.
Allen, as his teammates made clucking
noises in his direction following the game, was initially reluctant to
discuss his gift but finally relented.
"It was funny," he said.
"It was a very calm chicken. It handled itself well. We scored six runs
so maybe the chicken will be here tomorrow."
Allen said two of his
teammates came up with the idea.
Although pitcher Rich Hill was rumored
to be involved, no names were divulged.
"It's kind of an anonymous duo," Allen said.
Francona knew about the joke ahead of time but was still surprised to see a chicken on a baseball field.
"I'm pretty OK as long as we win, but I don't know about farm animals," he said.
came off a tough road trip to Atlanta and Detroit, in which they went
1-5 and lost ground in the wild card race before playing Baltimore.
Francona is happy that his team is remaining loose.
"I think it's
great," he said. "We're into September. ... I actually love it. Guys are
trying to have fun. That's the best way to be a good team."
moved a half-game in front of Baltimore in the chase for a playoff
spot. Cleveland began the night 3½ games behind Tampa Bay for the second
Relievers Bryan Shaw (3-3), Allen, Joe Smith and Chris
Perez, who recorded his 22nd save, combined to allow one hit in 4 1-3
"The chicken got us a win. ... I'm sorry. ... Cody got us a win, Chicken Al pitched well," Smith said.
Gomes broke a 4-all tie with an RBI single in the fifth when the Indians scored twice to go ahead for good.
A wild pitch by Kevin Gausman (2-4) with the bases loaded scored the second run.
Cleveland scored four times in the first, but starter Zach McAllister couldn't hold the lead.
Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the fourth. Manny Machado's three-run homer tied it in the fifth.
Raburn's two-run double, along with RBI singles by Gomes and Mike Aviles, got the Indians off to a quick start.
allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings. Orioles starter Zach Britton lasted
3 1/3 innings in his first start since July 9. The left-hander, called
up from Triple-A Norfolk on Monday, allowed four runs and six hits.
The Orioles finished 3-6 on their nine game trip against playoff contenders.
They also lost two of three in Boston and New York.
"I choose to trust these guys and continue to believe that good things are ahead," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.Jones
was hit on the left arm by a pitch in the second.
He was in obvious
pain as he headed to first, where he was visited by Showalter and a team
The two spoke with Jones, who remained in the game.The
three-game series between teams chasing a playoff spot drew a total of
Tuesday night's turnout of 9,962 was the lowest
September/October crowd in the history of Progressive Field, which
opened in 1994.
- Orioles closer Jim Johnson, who leads the
AL with 41 saves, pitched the eighth. It was his first appearance since
- McAllister, who struck out six, is 3-3 with a 4.53 ERA in
nine starts since returning from a sprained right middle finger on July
- Gomes batted in the fifth spot for the second time this season.
- Orioles slugger Chris Davis stole second in the fifth - his second
stolen base of the season.
- Orioles 2B Ryan Flaherty made his first
start since being recalled from Single-A Frederick on Tuesday.
Orioles open a four-game series Thursday at home against the Chicago
White Sox. Baltimore RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-7) faces Chicago LHP Jose
- The Indians are off Thursday. Cleveland begins a three-game home series Friday against the New York Mets. Indians LHP Scott Kazmir (7-7) takes on RHP Zack Wheeler (7-3) in the opener.