BALTIMORE – A welcomed vacation did nothing to change the fortune of the Baltimore Orioles and Jeremy Guthrie, who continued their losing ways upon returning from the All-Star break.
Guthrie gave up two home runs in the first inning, and the Orioles fell to the Cleveland Indians 8-4 Thursday night to extend their losing streak to eight games.
Baltimore was looking for a fresh start after taking off three days, but this game was quite similar to many that took place before the break. The Orioles fell behind early, never caught up and absorbed their 13th loss in 14 games since June 26.
"I think it was good for everybody to get a break from the game," center fielder Adam Jones said. "I think we all have the proper mindset right now. It just didn't happen."
Guthrie (3-13) allowed six runs, five hits and four walks in five-plus innings. Three of his major league-leading 13 losses have come during Baltimore's eight-game skid, including two in the last two games.
"I'm just not throwing the ball well," Guthrie said. "I haven't been going deep into games for a while."
Baltimore was without manager Buck Showalter, who served a one-game suspension as part of the punishment handed out Thursday by Major League Baseball following a July 8 bench-clearing brawl in Boston. Bench coach John Russell ran the team while Showalter watched from a private box.
Russell, former manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, was unable to deliver a much-needed victory.
"It was fun. Obviously, you don't like the outcome," Russell said. "Buck wasn't there and he asked me to step in. Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of getting a win for him."
Mike Gonzalez, who appealed a three-game suspension stemming from the heated four-game series against the Red Sox, pitched a scoreless inning. So did Kevin Gregg, who appealed his four-game suspension.
"It's tough to put your team in a hole like that," Guthrie said.
That made it easy for Justin Masterson (8-6) to improve to 3-0 in his last three starts.
"It was great for us to come out kind of firing," said Masterson, who gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, striking out eight.
"I worked out of a few jams here and there," he said. "I felt in control most of the time."
Nick Markakis drove in two runs for the Orioles, whose eight-game losing streak matches a season high. Baltimore has been outscored 28-11 in losing all four games against Cleveland this season.
After getting to Guthrie early, the Indians made it 4-0 in the third when Michael Brantley doubled and scored on Santana's double. Guthrie avoided further damage by getting Orlando Cabrera to bounce into a double play with the bases loaded.
Markakis delivered a two-out, two-run single in the bottom half. But the Orioles wasted a two-out double by Felix Pie in the fourth, and Masterson retired Markakis and Jones with runners at second and third in the fifth.
"We were in position to bridge the gap but weren't able to do it," Jones said.
Cleveland pulled away with a four-run sixth. After Grady Sizemore drew a leadoff walk, Orlando Cabrera broke an 0-for-18 slide with a single that ended Guthrie's night. Travis Buck then hit a sacrifice fly off Mark Hendrickson and Brantley singled in a run before Asdrubal Cabrera and Hafner hit RBI singles off Jason Berken.
NOTES: The Orioles struck out a season-high 13 times, including five straight to end the game. ... Cleveland RHP Fausto Carmona threw 50 pitches in a simulated game Thursday afternoon and is poised to start one game of Monday's doubleheader in Minnesota. Carmona has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 3 with a strained right quadriceps. ... Orioles DH Vladimir Guerrero still felt pain from being hit by a pitch on the hand Sunday in Boston and was unavailable. All-Star Matt Wieters took his place. ... Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall returned to the lineup after missing three games with a broken nasal bone, the result of being hit by a pitch. ... Hafner reached in all five plate appearances. He singled twice, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.