The right-hander will look to build off that performance as Baltimore seeks a season-best sixth straight victory and its first four-game road sweep of the Cleveland Indians in more than 40 years Monday night.
A stint in the bullpen and three starts for Triple-A Norfolk seemed to do the trick for Hunter (4-4, 5.71 ERA), who allowed one run and six hits over a season-high 7 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 2-1 win over Minnesota, the first of five consecutive victories for the Orioles (51-44).
Hunter had gone 1-2 with an 8.16 ERA in his last seven appearances - five starts - before being sent to the minors after he was tagged for five runs and eight hits in a 1 2-3 innings of relief against the Indians on June 30.
"To come back up here and do that, hold them to one run ... he threw a great game for us, much needed," Mark Reynolds told the team's official website.
Hunter didn't earn a decision in his last start against the Indians despite giving up five runs in 5 1-3 innings while pitching for Texas on Sept. 8, 2009. He'll look to help Baltimore complete its first four-game sweep in Cleveland since Sept. 24-26, 1971, after the Orioles held on for a 4-3 victory Sunday.
J.J. Hardy hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs to extend his hitting streak to six games, and Zach Britton pitched six scoreless innings.
Despite allowing a run during Cleveland's three-run ninth inning, Jim Johnson got the final two outs and notched his major league-best 30th save for Baltimore, which hasn't won four straight overall meetings with Cleveland since 1993."All our guys made big pitches," manager Buck Showalter said. "You can doubt yourself, but when it hurts the most is when you go back to the hotel or apartment and say, `I wish I hadn't been so timid there.' Go after them. They did."
The Indians have lost four straight and have fallen below .500 for the first time since they were 3-4 on April 14. Carlos Santana had three hits - including a two-run homer - for Cleveland (47-48), which is 4 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
The Indians have been outscored 23-6 while hitting .202 during their skid."We continue to struggle offensively, but the sun is going to come up tomorrow," manager Manny Acta said. "We still have over 60 games to go. Things can change in a heartbeat. Every day is a new day."
Cleveland will look to avoid being swept at home for the first time this season with the help of Justin Masterson , who has been solid recently versus the Orioles.
Masterson (6-8, 4.29) has won his last three starts with a 2.70 ERA against Baltimore after giving up one earned run in seven innings of a 6-2 road victory July 1. He's been inconsistent this month, though, going 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA in four starts, including giving up four runs in 4 1-3 innings of Cleveland's 10-6 win at Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
The right-hander had won two straight home starts before allowing a career high-tying eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 10-3 loss to the Rays on July 6.
|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) -- Justin Masterson is back as the Cleveland Indians ' skid stopper.
The right-hander, supported by three double plays, pitched 7 1-3 strong innings to help the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Monday night and avoid a four-game sweep.
Masterson (7-8) struck out six and gave up one run as Cleveland snapped a four-game losing streak. Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 29 chances.
"Masterson did a tremendous job," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He did what you expect a number one guy to do, go out and shut down the opposition."
A year ago, eight of Masterson's 12 wins came after losses. This was only the second time this season he won after a loss, however.
It couldn't have come at a better time. Cleveland opens a key three-game home series Tuesday night against AL Central leader Detroit. The Indians trail the Tigers by four games.
"You always want to take that opportunity when it is there," Masterson said of ending losing streaks. "Just give me two (runs) boys, and we'll try to get it done."
Shin-Shoo Choo did that, putting the Indians ahead 2-0 with a two-run homer in the third inning off Tommy Hunter (4-5). It was the 10th homer allowed by Hunter in his last seven starts and 20th this season.
The Orioles twice made poor baseruning decisions as they had a five-game winning streak stopped.
"Those were the keys to the game," said shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera , involved in both of those plays as well as all the Indians' three double plays.
Baltimore scored with two outs in the fifth. Masterson hit Ryan Flaherty in the left foot with a pitch. Omar Quintanilla followed with an RBI double - his first hit since being acquired from the New York Mets on Saturday.
Quintanilla made his first start as manager Buck Showalter gave shortstop J.J. Hardy a rest. Hardy had a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder before the All-Star break.
Baltimore ran amok in the second and eighth.
Adam Jones doubled to open the second. After Matt Wieters struck out, Jones strayed off second on a ball hit back to Masterson by Wilson Betemit and was caught in a rundown. The Indians threw the ball around like a hot potato, but eventually got Jones. It was scored 1-5-6-5-4-6. Not your everyday fielder's choice.
"We made way too many throws," Cabrera said, "But we got the out. That's all that matters."
In the eighth, Nick Markakis hit a one-out single off Masterson. Acta brought in hard-throwing Vinnie Pestano , but Endy Chavez lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-field corner for a double.
"When he hit that, my heart sank," Pestano said. "I knew how important this win was for us. My heart was hurting until they messed up."
Markakis hustled around third as left fielder Aaron Cunningham got the ball and threw to shortstop Cabrera. Markakis appeared determined to score when third-base coach DeMarlo Hale suddenly gave a hand signal to stop.
Markakis did - halfway between third and home. By then, catcher Carlos Santana had Cabrera's relay throw in his mitt. He tossed to third baseman Jack Hannahan , who applied the tag to Markakis, who hung his head as he trotted to the Orioles' dugout.
"It was 99.9 percent my fault," Markakis said. "I should have picked up my third-base coach and by the time I saw him I didn't see him do anything so I was using my own judgment. I thought I was going to get there. I heard him as I was going past the bag.
"I stopped and froze. I should have kept going," he said. "I should have made them make two good throws and get me out. It didn't end up good. It was bad baserunning on my part."
Chavez reached third on the play, but Pestano struck out Jim Thome to end the threat.
Michael Brantley 's bases-loaded single off reliever Troy Patton made it 3-1 in the bottom half.
NOTES: Indians OF Grady Sizemore , out since having back surgery in March, remains optimistic he will play this season, but says his progress hit a snag a month ago, when he felt better. "I don't know what OK feels like," said Sizemore, who had surgery on both knees in 2011. "I can't rehab my back fully because of the knees and can't rehab my knees because of the back." Sizemore takes batting practice and throws, but cannot run full speed. ... Acta said he liked how RHP Roberto Hernandez threw during a bullpen session. Hernandez made 30 pitches, utilizing fastballs, sinkers and sliders and likely will start a rehab assignment in the minors Thursday. ... Orioles RHP Stu Pomeranz (sore back) will be re-evaluated by doctors Tuesday. He went to the DL with an oblique injury, then hurt his back while rehabbing. ... Orioles 2B Brian Roberts (hip injury) continues baseball activities in Sarasota, Fla. but there's no timetable for his return. ... Masterson is 5-2 over his last eight starts.