TONY DEJAK / AP Enlarge
CLEVELAND - Asdrubal Cabrera is leading the Cleveland Indians on another August winning streak.
Cabrera hit a tie-breaking RBI single in the eighth inning to help the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 last night for their fifth straight win.
Cabrera had three of Cleveland's 12 hits and scored two runs as the Indians matched their season-best winning streak. Cabrera also doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of a 13-8 victory over the Orioles on Monday.
"He's been playing good baseball," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's taking a better approach at the plate, is in a little better shape and helping the team."
The slick-fielding Cabrera provided a boost last August when he was called up, hit .283 and solidified the defense to help Cleveland to the AL Central title.
This season, Cabrera had a .184 average when he was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo on June 9.
"I went down and put in a lot of work and that gave me confidence," said Cabrera, who was recalled July 18 and is batting .353 (18-for-51) in his last 15 games. "It feels good to help the team on offense as well as defense."
Rafael Perez (2-2) struck out two in 12/3 innings and Jensen Lewis pitched a perfect ninth for his second career save.
"You want to send the home fans home with a smile on their faces," said Lewis, who is the latest pitcher tried by Wedge to fill a void left when last year's AL saves leader Joe Borowski was ineffective and released July 4.
The Orioles have allowed 35 runs (33 earned) in the last three games.
Baltimore pitchers have given up 45 hits, 10 walks, six homers, hit three batters and tossed six wild pitches in those games.
Jim Johnson (2-4) plunked pinch hitter Shin-Soo Choo to start the Indians' eighth. Choo advanced on Andy Marte's sacrifice and scored when Cabrera hit a grounder between Johnson's legs and into center field. Cabrera went to second on the throw home.
Johnson intentionally walked Grady Sizemore and struck out Jamey Carroll before Ben Francisco singled in Cabrera to make it 7-5.
Garrett Olson allowed five runs, four earned, and nine hits over six innings in his first start against Cleveland.
Olson surrendered two-out RBI singles to Jhonny Peralta, Ryan Garko, Franklin Gutierrez and Marte as the Indians went ahead 4-2 in the first.
"Obviously, it leaves a bitter taste," Olson said. "I'm not pleased. After I got two outs, I should have closed it right there, but I didn't. As a result, I put my team in a hole."
It was the third consecutive game that the Orioles yielded four runs in the opening inning.
"I'd certainly like to be on the other end of it," manager Dave Trembley said of his starting staff's woes. "The game is dictated by your starting pitcher and the ability or the inability to put zeros on the board after you score."
Cleveland missed a chance to add to its 5-3 lead in the sixth when Cabrera was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on Sizemore's double off the wall in left-center.
Baltimore pushed across two runs in the seventh to tie it. Brian Roberts extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI single off reliever Masa Kobayashi. Nick Markakis added a run-scoring single off Perez.
Jeremy Sowers gave up four runs and six hits over 61/3 innings for Cleveland.
Aubrey Huff went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly for Baltimore, snapping his career-high 19-game hitting streak.
NOTES: Baltimore tied a season high with four errors. ... Wedge said a pitcher will be called up from the minors today to take the roster spot of RHP Paul Byrd, who was dealt to Boston. ... Orioles SS Juan Castro played for the first time since leaving Saturday's game with a strained left groin. He left for pinch-hitter Luke Scott, who doubled in the seventh inning, and was replaced in the field by Alex Cintron. ... Baltimore 3B Melvin Mora is batting .405 (17-for-42) with two homers and 15 RBIs in his last 10 games.41.50436 -81.69046