The Baltimore Orioles have had their problems establishing a consistent starting rotation, and they're hoping rookie Miguel Gonzalez can help out as they open a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Gonzalez (1-1, 2.59 ERA) started the season as a relief pitcher, and after three solid appearances was called upon to fill a spot in the injury-ridden rotation.
Baltimore (48-44) has had nine pitchers start games this season.
"You can't panic," slugger Jim Thome told the team's official website. "You root for each other, you're there. That's really about it. You prepare every day. You have a positive attitude and believe in the fact that they are doing everything they can from an organizational end to put the best out there."
Gonzalez has pitched well in his two starts, posting a 2.84 ERA. He beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 on July 6 with seven innings of one-run ball before allowing three runs over 5 2-3 innings of a 4-0 loss to Detroit on Sunday.
Baltimore will be looking for the right-hander to repeat his performance from his only appearance against the Indians, when he allowed one run and struck out five over 4 1-3 innings July 1.
He will be facing an Indians club that collected two hits in a 6-0 road loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Cleveland (47-45) split the four-game series against the Rays and will hand the ball to Derek Lowe on Friday.
Lowe (8-7, 4.43) has been dominant at home, going 5-1 with a 2.86 ERA in eight starts compared to 3-6 with a 5.81 ERA in 10 outings away from Progressive Field.
His last start was in Toronto on Sunday, when he went six innings and allowed three runs in a 3-0 loss.
Lowe is 8-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 35 appearances - 17 starts - against the Orioles. The right-hander didn't receive a decision after allowing seven runs - four earned - over 5 1-3 innings of a 9-8 loss in Baltimore on June 29.
The Indians won the other three games in that series and have taken nine of the last 12 meetings, winning four in a row at home.
A Cleveland bullpen that has been fairly consistent all season will most likely have a big impact in this series, especially in the first game. Lowe has not completed seven innings in 10 starts since pitching a six-hitter in a 5-0 win at Minnesota on May 15th.
"We need at least five guys back there, like we've done the last couple of years, that we can trust and that can keep us close when we're tied or trailing, in order for our bullpen to be successful longterm," manager Manny Acta told the team's official website.
The Orioles are coming off consecutive wins over the Twins following a 1-6 stretch. Mark Reynolds ' two-run single in the eighth inning Thursday gave Baltimore a 4-3 win and a split of the four-game set.
Reynolds is 6 for 18 with six RBIs over his last five games after going 10 for 66 (.152) and driving in seven runs in his previous 22 contests.
He is 8 for 24 with a homer, two doubles and a triple against Lowe.
The Indians called up Cody Allen before the game, and the highly touted right-hander could make his major league debut. The 23rd-round draft pick from 2011 has posted a 1.74 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 98 innings in two years as a pro.
|July 16, 2012||Robert Andino||15-Day DL||Left shoulder subluxation|
|July 16, 2012||Robert Andino||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder strain|
|July 14, 2012||Jason Hammel||15-Day DL||Arthroscopic surgery, right knee|
|July 02, 2012||Brian Roberts||15-Day DL||Torn muscle, right hip|
|June 28, 2012||Nick Johnson||60-Day DL||Sprained right wrist|
|June 27, 2012||Nick Johnson||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
|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|
CLEVELAND (AP) -- To Jim Thome , helping Baltimore win its third straight game meant more than hitting his 610th home run.
Thome move past Sammy Sosa into seventh place on the career homers list and Orioles beat the Cleveland Indians 10-2 Friday night.
The 41-year-old Thome got his historic home run with a towering 418-foot shot off Derek Lowe (8-8) to open the fourth inning.
"The big thing is we won another game," Thome said, wearing a large icepack on his neck. That's been a long-time postgame ritual to sooth his back that has ached for years, but not put a crimp in his production.
"I knew I got it," Thome said of the majestic shot.
He then got the baseball, exchanging a bat and two signed balls with the fan who caught it.
Thome's homer was his sixth this season and first since being acquired by Baltimore on July 1 from the Philadelphia Phillies for two minor-leaguers. He had signed with the Phillies as a free agent last winter.
"Nothing Jim does surprises me and I just feel pretty lucky to watch and enjoy it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm glad he's passed our way. He sets a great example for everybody and works incredibly hard. He plays every game like it his first in Little League."
It was Thome's 189th homer at Progressive Field. The left-handed slugger holds Cleveland's career record with 337 homers. He was a key part of the Indians' power-laden lineup from 1991-02 and returned for the final two months of the 2011 season.
Ken Griffey Jr. is next up on the career list with 630 homers.
Thome had three hits, including his 449th career double, tying Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and two others for 97th all-time. He also struck out for the 2,526th time, leaving him 61 behind career leader Reggie Jackson .
Ryan Flaherty had a three-run homer and Mark Reynolds doubled home two runs in Baltimore's six-run third as the Orioles went ahead 7-1.
Miguel Gonzalez (2-1) gave up seven hits and two runs over 6 2-3 innings in his third career start. The right-hander struck out five and is 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA on the road.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Jack Hannahan homered for Cleveland, which has lost six of its last nine.
"We couldn't do much offensively, but it was a big, big hole to climb out of," Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Orioles reliever Matt Lindstrom was hit in the left knee by a wicked line drive by Johnny Damon in the eighth. He wanted to stay in the game, but with a 10-2 lead, Showalter brought in Kevin Gregg with the bases loaded and two outs and Lindstrom walked to the dugout.
"I'm a little sore," Lindstrom said, a red welt on his leg just below the knee. "I'm icing it and have complete confidence in our training staff. I just need quicker reactions. I put my glove down, but not far enough."
Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the first on a wild pitch by Lowe. J.J. Hardy hit a one-out double, moved up on a groundout by Thome and scored when Adam Jones walked on a pitch that got past catcher Matt Wieters .
Cleveland tied it in the bottom half on Cabrera's 12th homer. Hannahan hit his fourth in the seventh to make it 10-2.
Lowe allowed nine runs and seven hits - five doubles and two homers - over three-plus innings. He walked five without a strikeout.
"The game speaks for itself," Lowe said. "It was embarassing, frustrating, all of the above."
The right-hander was the Indians' best starter in the first two months of the season, but the 39-year-old veteran is 2-7 with an 8.31 ERA in his last 10 starts - allowing 48 earned runs and 75 hits in 52 innings.
Reynolds went 1 for 5 and is hitting .304 with eight RBIs over six games after going 10 for 66 (.152) with seven RBIs in his previous 22 contests.
NOTES: Baltimore acquired INF Omar Quintanilla from the New York Mets for cash. He was designated for assignment by the Mets on Tuesday and is expected to join the Orioles on Saturday after a roster spot is cleared for him. ... Indians LHP Rafael Perez , out since April 26 with a sore shoulder, threw a bullpen session and is scheduled to resume a minor-league rehab assignment Monday. ... Cleveland RHP Cody Allen made his major-league debut, working one inning in relief. The 23rd-round draft pick in 2011 was called up from Triple-A Columbus as the Indians optioned out LHP Scott Barnes . ... Hannahan moved from third base to shortstop in the seventh - for his sixth career appearance at the position. ... Damon's three hits tied a season high. ... Cleveland leads the series 24-16 since 2007. The Indians took three of four in Baltimore, June 28-July 1.