The nail-biting conclusion was a sharp contrast to the first eight innings of the game, which saw Ubaldo Jimenez (10-9), Cody Allen and Joe Smith shut out the Orioles on five hits.
Asdrubal Cabrera provided the Indians’ first two runs on sacrifice flies in the fourth and sixth innings. Yan Gomes knocked in the other two runs in the sixth when he doubled to score Michael Brantley and Matt Carson.
Cleveland scored all four runs off Orioles starter Chris Tillman (15-5), who lasted 5 1/3 innings.
In the ninth inning, Perez gave up a three-run homer to Nate McLouth to erase most of the Indians’ lead with no outs. However, Perez struck out Brian Roberts and Manny Machado before Chris Davis grounded out to end the game.
Cleveland is now only a half-game behind Baltimore as both teams and the New York Yankees are chasing the Tampa Bay Rays for the final wild-card playoff spot.
The decisive game of the three-game series will take place tonight at 7:05 at Progressive Field. Zack McAllister (7-8) will pitch for the Tribe against Zach Britton.
Attendance for last night’s game was 9,962.
In other news, the Indians learned that starting pitcher Justin Masterson’s oblique muscle injury will cause him to miss his next start, according to the Plain Dealer.
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