The Cleveland Indians seem to enjoy visiting Camden Yards. No player likes it more than Shin-Soo Choo.
Choo looks to continue leading the Indians offensive barrage and cap this four-game series with a third victory against the Orioles and new acquisition Jim Thome on Sunday.
Cleveland (39-38) has won six of its last nine games in Baltimore (42-35), hitting .317 with 16 homers while averaging 6.8 runs.
Choo has been a big part of that with a .396 average in 13 games at Camden Yards, his highest mark at any park.
The right fielder has eight hits with two home runs and six RBIs in this series after going 4 for 5 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs in Saturday's 11-5 victory.
"I think the big thing (is) I feel comfortable, comfortable in the batter's box," Choo said. "I have confidence. I'm not changing anything."
Cleveland had a season-high 19 hits Saturday and is batting .350 with 26 runs while taking two of three from the Orioles.
The Indians entered this series hitting .210 with two homers and 11 runs during a five-game slide.
"We don't do it for a while," said Jose Lopez , who had a career-high five hits with three RBIs Saturday. "Especially Choo and a couple of guys who got three, two hits. Maybe we start and (continue) tomorrow and a week before the All-Star break."
The Orioles have lost eight of 11, during which they're hitting .201 and averaging 2.5 runs.
In an effort to spark the offense, they acquired Thome from Philadelphia for two minor leaguers Saturday.
Thome, who is tied with Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time home run list with 609, had a .242 average with five homers and 15 RBIs in a limited role for the Phillies. He's 1 for 15 in his last six meetings with the Indians, the team he played his first 12 seasons with. He had a brief stint there last year.
"I've heard nothing but great things about his character and personality," Chris Davis said. "He's a class act. So we're going to welcome him with open arms, and hopefully he can swing it for us like he can against us."
Baltimore is scheduled to send Brian Matusz (5-9, 5.24 ERA) to the mound hoping he can end a four-start losing streak. He has an 8.31 ERA in his past four outings after winning four of his previous five with a 2.87 ERA.
The left-hander struggled again Tuesday, surrendering five runs and a career-high 13 hits in five innings of a 7-3 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels .
Matusz is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against Cleveland, striking out 14 in 14 innings.
He'll be opposed by Justin Masterson (4-7, 4.09), who is 1-4 with a 6.88 ERA in six starts away from home. The right-hander lost his third straight road outing after allowing four runs and seven hits over six innings in Tuesday's 6-4 defeat to the Yankees.
Masterson had won his previous two starts - both at home - giving up one unearned run and seven hits with 18 strikeouts in 16 innings.
He went 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against the Orioles last season.
|June 30, 2012||Lonnie Chisenhall||15-Day DL||Fractured right ulna - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 29, 2012||Lonnie Chisenhall||Day-to-Day||Fractured right ulna - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 05, 2012||Jose Lopez||Day-to-Day||Sore lower back|
|May 27, 2012||Jack Hannahan||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 27, 2012||Jack Hannahan||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 26, 2012||Carlos Santana||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 28, 2012||Nick Johnson||15-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|June 27, 2012||Nick Johnson||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
|June 13, 2012||Brian Matusz||Day-to-Day||Bruised nose|
|June 13, 2012||Endy Chavez||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|June 12, 2012||Endy Chavez||Day-to-Day||Left game - Strained right hamstring|
|June 07, 2012||Adam Jones||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist soreness|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Cleveland 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.
"I think there's a couple adjustments he can make that will help him," said Dan Duquette, the team's executive vice president of baseball operations. "He's not too far away from being a winning major league pitcher. With a couple adjustments and some consistencies that will help him command his fastball better, that will give him a much better chance."
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 21 1-3 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 4 1-3 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.
Baltimore got an unearned run in the fifth. After Jones reached on a bad-hop grounder to Cabrera at shortstop that was ruled an error, Ryan Flaherty lined a two-out RBI single to left.
The Orioles closed to 5-2 in the sixth when J.J. Hardy singled and scored on a double by Jones. But Baltimore got only two hits the rest of the way.
Cleveland added a run in the ninth on a double by Cabrera and an RBI single by Jason Kipnis .
NOTES: Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall underwent surgery Saturday to repair a fractured bone in his right forearm. The team says he can resume baseball activities in 10-12 weeks. ... The Orioles optioned OF Xavier Avery and RHP Tommy Hunter to Norfolk. ... Baltimore's Wilson Betemit extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Cleveland improved to 16-0 on the road when leading after six innings. ... Baltimore went 3-6 on its final homestand until July 13-15.