The Baltimore Orioles doubled-up on the Cleveland Indians with twice as many runs (8-4), twice as many hits (14-7) and twice as many home runs (2-1) Friday night.
Orioles starter Bud Norris improved his record to 3-4 with six workmanlike innings, giving up four runs on six hits. Those four runs were all scored in the fourth inning, with three of them on a homer by Jason Giambi (He of the .125 batting average). But that was all the scoring the Indians would muster on this evening.
The Baltimore Orioles offense seems to be finally awakening. Chris Davis hit the big blow with a two-run homer in the fifth inning that would give the Birds a 5-4 lead that they would not surrender. Davis had earlier doubled in two runs in the second inning for a total of four on the evening. Nick Markakis hammered out four hits to raise his average to .306, and Adam Jones had another multi-hit game with three.
As has been stated in this blog and by many other Orioles writers, when the big guns in this offense are working, the O’s are going to win a lot of games. The 1-3-4-5 spots in the order were a combined 10-for-15.
Continuing to especially empower the Orioles attack was Nelson Cruz who opened the scoring with his 15th homer and 43rd RBI in the second inning. Cruz is on pace at this moment to hit 53 homers and drive in 151 runs. Anyone want to bet if he will get paid more than $8-million next year?
Certainly also returning to the lineup will be Steve Clevenger behind the plate, as the Orioles will be facing a decent right-hander in the Indians’ Corey Kluber – 4-3 with a 3.43 ERA over 10 starts this season.
Kluber has pitched once against the Orioles – starting and losing a game on June 27th of last season. He gave up seven runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings. Matt Wieters and Flaherty had two hits each, with Wieters and Davis hitting doubles. So we might see Flaherty in the game at second base, even if Machado indeed returns.
The Orioles will send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound for his fifth start in May. After his wretched month of April, it seemed through the first three games of May that the old lights-out Ubaldo had arrived with the warmer weather. But then he gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings in Kansas City last Sunday.
Since prior to this season Jimenez pitched in the National League for the Rockies and then for Cleveland, he has never actually pitched against the Indians.
So it looks like a wide open sort of anything-can-happen kind of game on tap for Saturday afternoon.