The Indians' Aaron Cunningham connects for a solo home run as Cleveland won to take three of four games in Baltimore.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
BALTIMORE -- The Indians came to Camden Yards mired in a five-game losing streak. Worried that his players might switch into panic mode, manager Manny Acta called a team meeting to remind them that things can change in a hurry.
His words rang true. Cleveland won three of four from the Orioles, including a 6-2 victory Sunday that provided an uplifting finish to a 4-6 road trip.
Justin Masterson pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, Shelley Duncan homered and hit two doubles, and Aaron Cunningham contributed a solo shot. Cleveland totaled 55 hits in the four games, including eight for extra bases in the finale.
"A nice bounce back to finish a road trip that started in such an ugly way," Acta said.
The Indians lost two of three in Houston and were swept in three games by the Yankees before bullying the skidding Orioles.
"Being able to finish by winning three of four boosts the boys as we head back home, finally," Masterson said.
Masterson (5-7) retired the first 12 batters he faced and earned his first road win in four tries since May 3. The right-hander gave up two runs, one earned, struck out seven, and walked none.
"Masterson was dominant the majority of the game," Acta said. "He was in command all day. He was able to throw that four-seam by guys whenever he wanted to at 95 or 96. Never a doubt."
Jim Thome went 0-for-4 in his Baltimore debut. Acquired Saturday in a trade with Philadelphia, the 41-year-old slugger struck out twice and grounded out twice against the team with which he broke into the majors in 1991.
All-Star selection Adam Jones drove in a run and scored one for the Orioles, who have lost five of six and nine of 12.
Baltimore starter Brian Matusz (5-10) didn't make it out of the fifth inning and lost his fifth straight start. After the game, the left-hander was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, where the Orioles hope he can regain his form.
Matusz allowed five runs, four earned, seven hits, and three walks in four-plus innings. In his two previous career starts against Cleveland, he was 1-0 with an 0.64 ERA. But in his last five games overall, Matusz allowed 20 earned runs and 40 hits over 21⅓ innings.
That's why the demotion came as no surprise.
"No, not at all. In my last five, six outings just haven't been getting the job done," Matusz said. "Today was just really inconsistent, I had some signs of good pitches, just haven't been putting it together. It's killing the bullpen. It's making it tough, so moves have to be made. I have to go down and get better."
Cleveland, which came into the series 5-16 against left-handed starters, beat lefties Wei-Yin Chen, Dana Eveland, and Matusz.
"Up to now, only [Asdrubal] Cabrera and [Michael] Brantley have been able to hit left-handers," Acta said. "But we have guys here that have done it in the past. That was the case today."
Cunningham, who homered off Matusz, said, "Our guys can hit lefties. I'm sure throughout the season we'll get better with it."
After Matusz left, Miguel Gonzalez struck out five and gave up one run in 4⅓ innings. The rookie was recalled earlier in the day to fortify an overworked bullpen.
Duncan put the Indians up 1-0 in the second with his sixth home run, and Cunningham added a solo shot in the third.
Doubles by Jose Lopez, Duncan, and Casey Kotchman, along with a sacrifice fly by Lou Marson, made it 5-0 in the fourth.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.