O's, Indians try to keep playoff hopes alive in Cleveland

Playoff hopefuls collide on Monday when the Baltimore Orioles play the first of three games against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

Baltimore finds itself three games back of the second wild card in the American League, while the Indians sit a half game behind the Orioles.

Both teams picked up much-needed wins on Sunday.

Baltimore avoided a three-game sweep in New York, as J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones each clubbed three-run homers and the Orioles scored seven times in the seventh inning to rally for a 7-3 victory over the Yankees.

After going scoreless for a stretch of 18 consecutive innings, Baltimore's offense erupted against the New York bullpen in the deciding seventh.

"This team's gonna grind," said Jones. "This win is huge, and we need to continue to grind."

Cleveland also salvaged the finale of its three-game affair with the Detroit Tigers, as Mike Aviles' grand slam in the ninth inning propelled the Tribe to a 4-0 win at Comerica Park.

"I was fortunate enough to get a ball that stayed in the middle. I think he was trying to go away with it. I was able to get a good swing on it. I knew off the bat it was at least a sac fly and I was praying it went over," said Aviles.

Hoping to keep the momentum rolling for the Indians on Monday will be righty Justin Masterson, who is 14-9 with a 3.49 ERA. Masterson did not get a decision on Wednesday in Atlanta, as he allowed two runs and five hits, but walked four batters in six innings of a 3-2 loss.

"When our ace goes out and gives us strong innings, we've got to find a way to get a 'W,'" said Aviles, referring to Masterson.

Masterson has faced the Orioles 13 times (9 starts) and is 6-4 with a 4.71 ERA.

Baltimore, meanwhile, will counter with righty Bud Norris, who is 3-0 in six starts for the Orioles since being acquired from Houston on July 31. Norris pitched well on Wednesday in Boston but did not get a decision, despite surrendering one runs and four hits in 5 1/3 frames. He also walked four batters in the 4-3 loss.

"These guys scored some runs early to give me a little cushion, so my focus is putting up a zero on every scoreboard, every half inning," said Norris. "As long as I could go and, (manager) Buck (Showalter), he made the decision and I'm OK with it, handing the ball off to the bullpen. I feel confident doing that every time."

He is 9-10 overall on the year with a 4.13 ERA.

Baltimore has split its four-games with the Indians this season.