Trying to help his team end a long losing streak and help a pitching staff that had allowed 81 runs the last 10 games, Alfredo Simon did both tonight, going seven strong innings as the Orioles beat Cleveland 6-5.
Simon gave up just three hits and two runs and became just the second O's starter (after Jeremy Guthrie) to pitch seven innings in the last 30 games.
"Everything worked good. My slider and curveball worked great. I just gave up two runs and I felt everything contributed," Simon said. "I just felt great today and wanted to do the best I can to win the game. I know I can be a starter and do what I did tonight."
Simon is scheduled to leave the team to return to the Dominican Republic tomorrow, but said that was not weighing on his mind at all during this game.
"I didn't think about that," he said. "Just get my job done and my family was here tonight and I wanted to do it for them. This makes me feel good. I didn't even think about that.
"I will just go for one day and come back Monday night. Everything is going to be fine."
When asked if he could have come out to pitch longer, after throwing 79 pitches, Simon indicated the answer to that was probably no.
"Not really, I have a little hamstring (injury) and I just tried to work quick and make good pitches. That one pitch in Boston, I felt a pop and I've been getting ice and massage everyday. It's a little hurt, but I can handle it," Simon said.
This was his longest outing since he pitched five innings on April 9, 2009 against the New York Yankees and he improved to 2-2 with an ERA of 4.36.
Adam Jones, who drove in two runs, said it was big for an O's starter to finally have a good outing after the starting pitchers worked to an ERA of 7.71 over the previous 29 games.
"It was refreshing. (Simon) went out there and dealt," Jones said. "I looked up there, I think in the fifth, and saw 45 pitches. I thought, that's crazy, he has just 45 pitches. He used all his pitches and we just finally got a win."
Meanwhile, Michael Gonzalez picked up just his second save as an Oriole in his 63rd Baltimore appearance when he got the game's last out with the tying run on second base.
He retired Grady Sizemore on a groundout after Kevin Gregg had allowed three runs and Cleveland pulled within 6-5.
"There's an adrenaline rush that you love (in getting a chance to close)," Gonzalez said. "Today, we weren't going to lose. We had gone too far and done well in the game and I had that same mindset. This is a great feeling, now we just have to go out and have fun tomorrow."