CLEVELAND - Lou Montanez has earned the right to swing away after one week in the majors.
Montanez hit a tiebreaking double during an eight-run eighth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles went on to beat the Cleveland Indians 11-6 last night and split their four-game series.
The Orioles sent 13 men to bat in the eighth, getting six hits and three walks in their most productive inning of the season. Baltimore has scored 55 runs in its last seven games.
Montanez came up in the eighth with runners on first and second, none out, and expected manager Dave Trembley to ask him to bunt.
"I thought about that, but they let me swing," Montanez said. "I got a good pitch to hit."
Trembley insisted a bunt didn't enter his mind.
"Why bunt the eighth guy in the order?" Trembley said. "To get the No. 9 hitter up there? Montanez has been swinging at strikes, getting big hits."
Montanez, who became the first Oriole in 45 years to homer in his first time up in the majors on Aug. 6, is hitting .474 (9-for-19) overall.
Kevin Millar singled to center off Rafael Perez (2-3) to start the rally.
"He's tough," Millar said of the lanky left-hander. "He's got really good stuff. When you get an inning going against him, it's pretty big."
Third baseman Andy Marte then mishandled a sharp grounder off the bat of Jay Payton for an error, and Montanez doubled off the wall in right-center, scoring Millar to break a 3-3 tie.
Juan Castro lined a two-run single and Melvin Mora an RBI double to make it 7-3. Edward Mujica walked Ramon Hernandez with the bases loaded, Millar lined a two-run single and Montanez finished the scoring with an RBI single.
"You usually don't see two guys get two hits in the same inning," Millar said. "We've got a good, balanced lineup."
Fernando Cabrera (1-1) worked a perfect seventh for his first win since April 25, 2007, when he was with Cleveland. He signed with Baltimore last August after being released by the Indians.
Zach Jackson, one of four players acquired by Cleveland in the July 7 trade of CC Sabathia to Milwaukee, didn't get much defensive help in his Indians debut. A missed grounder and a ball lost in the twilight contributed to two of the three runs the left-hander allowed over five innings.
"We didn't play well at all in multiple areas," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
"It got away from us. Perez didn't have it and Mujica struggled as well."
Jackson gave up four hits and two runs in the first.
Asdrubal Cabrera's two-out double to right-center tied it at 3 in the sixth.
Franklin Gutierrez hit a solo homer in Cleveland's three-run ninth off Alberto Castillo.