BALTIMORE — An outstanding pitchers' duel between Carlos Carrasco and Kevin Gausman was ultimately decided by one mighty swing and two nifty defensive plays.
Carrasco outpitched Gausman to win his 10th straight decision, and Yonder Alonso's two-run homer carried the Cleveland Indians past the struggling Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Monday night.
Carrasco (4-0) allowed one run and six hits over 7 1/3 innings. He struck out seven, walked two and snared a line drive off the bat of Anthony Santander to start a pivotal double play in the second.
"He dodged a bullet. He made a nice play, helping himself up the middle," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
In the sixth, Indians centre fielder Bradley Zimmer made a sliding catch to double up Manny Machado, who thought for sure the ball was going to drop.
"Zim made a nice play," Francona said. "And in a game like this, it's probably the game either way, if somebody doesn't make a play."
Andrew Miller got the last two outs in the eighth and Cody Allen struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save.
Gausman (1-2) gave up two runs and four hits over eight innings, striking out seven with only one walk — to leadoff hitter Francisco Lindor in the first inning.
In the seventh, Gausman fanned Alonso, Yan Gomes and Zimmer on nine pitches. The right-hander retired the final 10 batters he faced and 16 of the last 17, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games.
"When you get that type of pitching performance, you feel like you need to win the game," manager Buck Showalter said. "But they got a good pitching performance, and that's why they're as successful as they are. You're sitting there looking at Carrasco and you're looking at Miller and Allen, it's pretty tough going."
Alonso put the Indians up 2-0 in the second inning with a drive to centre field after Edwin Encarnacion hit a leadoff single.
Baltimore got a run back in the bottom half on singles by Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Chance Sisco before Carrasco snagged Santander's liner.
The Indians had only two baserunners over the final seven innings, and Baltimore ended up going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Cleveland took three of four from the Orioles and is 9-2 against Baltimore over the last two seasons.
"They probably have got one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball and a really good bullpen," Gausman said. "So every one of these games their starter pitched really well. Then they've got guys like Andrew Miller coming out. Just tough matchup for our hitters."
Machado extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single and walked twice. Though he was easily doubled up by Zimmer in the sixth, Showalter gave his star shortstop a pass on the play.
"The way we're struggling to score runs, you're trying to score on everything," the manager said. "Take a chance here or there. I understand what his thinking is."
Indians: Zimmer (ankle) returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday. ... 3B Gio Urshela (hamstring) is nearing the end of his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Columbus, but his season debut with Cleveland is not necessarily imminent. "In the next week or so we're going to have to make a decision" on whether to call him up, Francona said.
Orioles: OF Trey Mancini (knee) missed a third straight start but entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth. ... DH Mark Trumbo (quad strain) went 1 for 3 with a walk and played first base for Double-A Bowie.
Indians: Open an 11-game homestand Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs, the first meeting between the teams since Cleveland lost the 2016 World Series in seven games.
Orioles: RHP Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43 ERA) vies for his first win with the Orioles on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series against visiting Tampa Bay.
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