Two second-place clubs will be looking to gain ground in their respective divisions today as the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles conclude their four-game series at Camden Yards.
After a split in the first two games, the Indians set a season-high in hits for the second straight game to power their 11-5 victory in the third bout of the series on Saturday. Shin-Soo Choo led the way by going 4-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, and a walk for Cleveland.
Jose Lopez went 5-for-6 with three runs batted in and Asdrubal Cabrera finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and a walk. Catcher Lou Marson was also locked in as he went 4-for-5 with an RBI and three scored runs.
"I'm getting consistent at-bats, good opportunity and I feel good right now," Marson said. "I'm just trying to get quality at-bats and trying to see the ball. I don't want to talk about it. I just want to keep swinging it."
Josh Tomlin (4-5) picked up the win for the Tribe by lasting six innings and surrendering five earned runs.
Right-hander Justin Masterson will take the hill today for the Indians, who come in 2 1/2 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central race.
Masterson was handed a loss on Tuesday after surrendering four earned runs on seven hits in six innings versus the Yankees. The Indians' starter had allowed only one earned run and struck out 24 batters in his three previous starts. Masterson's ERA of 4.09 is the team's best among starters.
Masterson is 1-4 with a 6.88 ERA in away games this season. He is 4-3 with a 5.31 ERA in his career versus Baltimore.
The Orioles parted ways with two Class A players to add Jim Thome in an attempt to bolster the offense. The 41-year old slugger could make his debut with the team today. Thome was impressive with Philadelphia during interleague play when given the opportunity to see more pitches as a designated hitter.
Center-fielder Adam Jones improved his team-best batting average to .300 in Saturday's loss by going 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles. Chris Davis got into the action as well with a three-run home run while Brian Roberts and Matt Wieters drove in a run apiece. The addition of Thome could be very useful for the Orioles as they try to match the red-hot offense of Cleveland.
"I think it's exciting. Thome is a guy I loved watch play growing up, and I had a lot of respect for," Davis said. "I'm excited to have him here not only as a player, but as a mentor."
Baltimore southpaw Brian Matusz will have the challenge of stifling the Indians' offense today. The lefty is going to have to snap out of his own current slump to give his team a chance, however.
Matusz has lost four consecutive starts and has not completed the sixth inning in any of them. The Orioles' pitcher gave up a career-worst 13 hits and five runs to the Angels in five innings in his most recent start on Tuesday.
Matusz is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two career starts versus the Indians.
Cleveland has won six of its last nine games at Camden Yards.