Published July 16, 2011
BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Orioles finally have a winning streak going, and it couldn't come at a more opportune time.
Robert Andino homered and had a career-high four RBIs, and Baltimore beat the Cleveland Indians 8-3 Sunday to earn a split of the four-game series.
Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters hit solo shots for the Orioles, who scored the final eight runs after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning. Baltimore lost nine straight and had not put together successive victories since June 19-20 before beating the Indians twice over the weekend.
Next up for Baltimore: A three-game series against the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, who swept the Orioles in four games just before the All-Star break.
"It's better to have a winning streak, even if it's two," Jones said. "Let's build on this. We've got a tough team coming in, so let's take this momentum and use it against them. They're a good team. We know that. Everybody in baseball knows that. But they can be beat, so they're going to come to Camden (Yards) and we have something for them."
Many times this season the Orioles have fallen behind early and couldn't muster enough offense to come back. On Sunday, however, Baltimore won after trailing by three runs for the first time since May 26.
Andino led the way. The first three-run homer of his career put Baltimore up 4-3 in the fifth, and a deftly executed suicide squeeze in the seventh helped pad the margin.
"Anything I can do to help the team win," said Andino, who's gotten extensive playing time this season in place of injured second baseman Brian Roberts. "I'm just happy to be here."
Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana homered for the Indians, who have dropped five of seven. Cleveland stranded 11 and went 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
"We just left too many people on base, ultimately," Hafner said. "That really hurt us."
Cleveland All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera added another brilliant fielding gem to his ever-expanding highlight reel. With a runner on first base in the fourth, Cabrera sprinted behind second base to reach Markakis' grounder. As his momentum carried him toward the outfield grass, he flipped a no-look, underhand toss to second baseman Luis Valbuena, whose relay completed the stunning double play.
Limited to a pair of hits by Jeanmar Gomez and trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Baltimore got singles from Wieters and Mark Reynolds before Andino hit a 3-1 pitch into the front row of the left-field seats. It was his eighth home run in 3,524 career at-bats.
Markakis homered in the sixth to chase Gomez (0-2), recalled from Triple-A Columbus before the game.
"I threw the ball pretty well the first four innings," Gomez said. "The fifth inning, the problem was I got behind the count."
Cleveland loaded the bases with one out in the seventh before Jim Johnson quelled the threat.
Baltimore went up 7-3 in the bottom half against Joe Smith, who had not allowed an earned run in his previous 27 appearances. Derrek Lee doubled and came home on a bunt by Andino before J.J. Hardy hit an RBI single.
Wieters connected in the eighth off Frank Herrmann.
Baltimore starter Mitch Atkins gave up six hits, including a pair of homers, in three innings. The right-hander needed 77 pitches to get nine outs.
After the game, Atkins was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Mark Hendrickson (1-0) followed with three innings of scoreless relief to earn his first win since May 13, 2010.
"(Hendrickson) was probably the key to the game, the innings he put up there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Atkins retired the first two batters before Hafner hit a drive into the center-field bleachers. Three pitches later, Santana launched a shot to right that became the 56th home run in the 20-year history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street.
Showalter insisted it was a foul ball, and the umpires adjourned to look at a replay before returning to confirm the home run call.
Grady Sizemore followed with a double but twisted his right knee while running to second. He was replaced by Ezequiel Carrera, who scored on a single by Travis Buck.
Batting cleanup for the first time this season, Jones led off the second inning with his 15th home run.
NOTES: Sizemore will be sent back to Cleveland for an examination of his knee. ... The Indians are expected to recall LHP David Huff on Monday to start against Minnesota. Fausto Carmona will come off the disabled list to pitch the second game of the doubleheader. ... The Orioles placed DH Vladimir Guerrero on the DL and recalled OF Matt Angle from Norfolk. Angle went 0 for 3 with a walk in his major league debut.