BALTIMORE (AP) — Nelson Cruz might not have to carry the Baltimore Orioles’ offense anymore, now that Chris Davis and Adam Jones are starting to find their groove.
Davis homered and had four RBIs, Jones had three hits and scored three runs and the Orioles beat Cleveland 8-4 Friday night to snap the Indians’ four-game winning streak.
Cruz hit his 15th homer, collected his team-high 43rd RBI and upped his batting average to .286.
“I think this is really the first time we’ve all been swinging the bat well collectively,” Davis said of himself, Cruz and Jones. “Nelson’s been hot all year. Jonesy is really starting to come on and obviously me coming off the (oblique) injury, I’ve started to swing the bat. It’s big for us, especially in the middle of the lineup.”
Davis hit a two-run double in the third inning and put Baltimore up 5-4 in the fifth with his seventh home run, the fourth in four games. He led the majors with 53 homers last year, and while he’s not on that kind of pace, Davis appears to be heating up.
“I think I’m just putting together better at-bats,” he said.
Nick Markakis had four hits for the Orioles, who have 38 runs and 62 hits in their last five games.
Bud Norris (3-4) gave up four runs, six hits and three walks in six innings to earn his first win in four starts since May 1. It wasn’t his finest effort, but the run support certainly helped.
“These guys can swing,” Norris said. “They’re professional hitters. They’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Making his second major league appearance, Cleveland’s T.J. House (0-1) allowed five runs and 11 hits in six innings. He was first left-hander to make his initial big league start with the Indians since David Huff on May 17, 2009.
House had the misfortune of going against a Baltimore team that now has scored at least six runs in five straight games, one short of the club record.
“It was fun,” House said. “Obviously the results didn’t end the way I wanted them to, but I had a good time out there and next time I get the chance to do it I hope to be able to perform a little better.”
Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer for Cleveland, the 439th of his career, breaking a tie with Andre Dawson for 41st place on the all-time HR list. Prior to connecting, the 43-year-old Giambi was 1 for 15 with no homers and no RBIs this year.
The drive gave Cleveland a 4-3 lead.
“I’ve been taking some good at-bats,” Giambi said. “I just wanted to try to put a ball in play there to get us a run. We had a runner on third, less than two outs, and just kind of keep the train moving. I just kind of got it up in the air a little bit and it went out of the ballpark.”
Cruz put Baltimore up 1-0 with a shot to right-center in the second inning, and Davis doubled to right to make it 3-0 in the third.
Cleveland responded with a four-run fourth. After Lonnie Chisenhall doubled in a run, Carlos Santana walked and Giambi followed with an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats.
“At the time it was huge,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It got us right back in the ballgame, put us ahead. That’s when you’re starting to feel like OK, here we go, we’ll find a way to win this one, too.”
But Davis followed an infield hit by Jones with a shot to right field in the fifth to put Baltimore ahead to stay.
The Orioles added three unearned runs in the seventh off Mark Lowe, whose throwing error on a potential double-play ball allowed a run to score and preceded an RBI groundout by J.J. Hardy and a run-scoring double by Delmon Young.
NOTES: Orioles 3B Manny Machado was given the day off after leaving in the 12th inning Thursday night with a sore right groin. Manager Buck Showalter termed the injury “the proverbial day-to-day” and said he expected Machado to avoid the 15-day disabled list. … The Orioles recalled LHP T.J. McFarland from Triple-A Norfolk before Friday’s game and optioned RHP Preston Guilmet to Norfolk. … Cleveland SS Asdrubal Cabrera and 1B Nick Swisher did not start Friday because of knee soreness, but both are expected to avoid the DL, Francona said. Cabrera’s MRI Friday morning came back negative, Francona said. … RHP Ubaldo Jimenez will start for the Orioles on Saturday against his former team. Jimenez played with the Indians before signing with Baltimore as a free agent during the offseason.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)