CLEVELAND — Mike Aviles homered leading off the 11th inning to give the Cleveland Indians a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
Aviles connected on a 1-2 pitch from Brian Matusz (2-3), driving it onto the home run porch in left field for just Cleveland’s second run in the past 22-plus innings. The Indians were shut out 1-0 by Arizona in 12 innings on Wednesday night.
As he neared home plate, Aviles slowed down and was splashed in the face with water by his jubilant teammates, who then embraced him and danced up the first-base line.
The walk-off win allowed the Indians to keep momentum in their playoff push. Cleveland has won four of five.
Scott Atchison (6-0) retired all six batters and capped a night when the Indians got another big outing from starter Corey Kluber.
Kluber struck out 10 and allowed just one run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He remained unbeaten in eight starts since June.
Rookie Zach Walters homered for Cleveland.
The Orioles tied it in the eighth on J.J. Hardy’s two-out single. After Kluber got two outs, Nelson Cruz singled off the right-hander, who has been on a remarkable run during the season’s second half.
Kluber received a standing ovation from Cleveland’s fans as he walked to the dugout, and he had barely taken a seat when the Orioles evened it against Bryan Shaw.
Delmon Young singled and Hardy, who missed the previous four games with a sprained left thumb, also singled, with Cruz scoring ahead of center fielder Michael Brantley’s throw to the plate.
Even Kluber’s no-decision was impressive. He has allowed just four runs in 47 2-3 innings in six second-half starts, giving him a formidable 0.76 ERA since July 6. The stoic Kluber, nicknamed “Klubot” by for his passive demeanor, walked one.
Kluber’s eight double-digit strikeout games this season are the most for an Indians pitcher since Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley in 1976.
Walters gave the Indians a 1-0 lead with a homer in the fifth off Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen, who allowed only four hits in seven innings.
Walters hit his second homer since joining the Indians following a July 31 trade from Washington. He had grimaced after swinging and missing an earlier pitch, prompting manager Terry Francona and a trainer to visit him at the plate. But Walters looked pain-free while driving 2-2 offering over the 19-foot-high wall in left-center.
During his brilliant second-half stretch, Kluber has struck out 55 in less than 48 innings, outdueled Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, downed the Tigers and Yankees and carried a perfect game into the seventh at Kansas City on July 24 before getting a no-decision.
Kluber hasn’t lost since June 30, and that was a 1-0 setback against the Dodgers.
Orioles: 3B Manny Machado (sprained right knee) is traveling with the team, but there’s no timetable for when his return. Machado was injured during an at-bat Monday against the Yankees. Machado began the season on the DL recovering from surgery on his left knee.
Indians: 1B Nick Swisher will have his right knee examined again on Tuesday in Los Angeles. It’s possible he’ll need season-ending surgery, and Swisher’s injury could explain his lack of production in his second season with Cleveland.
Former Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8) faces his ex-teammates for the second time this season. Jimenez went 13-9 for Cleveland last season before signing with Baltimore as a free agent. He’ll face RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-4), making his second start since returning to Cleveland’s rotation.