And the Thome era officially begins (Matusz’s day ends)

Jim Thome received a nice ovation as he walked to the plate with one out in the bottom of the second inning. The cartoon bird looked a bit strange on his helmet, but we’ll get used to it.

He’s worn many hats over the years.

In his first at-bat with the Orioles, who completed a trade with the Phillies yesterday that included Single-A pitcher Kyle Simon and catcher Gabriel Lino, Thome fell behind 0-2 and sent a hard bouncer off Indians pitcher Justin Masterson’s leg. Masterson covered the bag as first baseman Casey Kotchman retrieved the ball, producing a 1-3-1 putout and sending Thome back to the dugout.

OK, so he won’t bat 1.000 with the Orioles.

Thome swung through a 96 mph fastball before drilling Masterson with the next pitch.

Left-hander Brian Matusz has surrendered bases-empty home runs to Shelley Duncan and Aaron Cunningham in the first three innings. He’s up to 46 pitches, 29 for strikes, as we head to the top of the fourth.

Miguel Gonzalez is the long reliever today. Manager Buck Showalter would like to avoid using him with a seven-game West Coast trip on the horizon.

Update: Showalter had to use Gonzalez.

Fans booed as Matusz walked off the mound after allowing a hit and walking a batter to open the top of the fifth inning. He surrendered five runs (four earned) and seven hits - including two home runs and four doubles. He walked three and struck out two.

Matusz threw 78 pitches, 50 for strikes, and he’s staring at a fifth consecutive loss.

Matusz hasn’t gone more than 5 2/3 innings in his last five starts since holding the Rays to one run and two hits over 7 1/3 innings on June 2. He’s posted an 8.44 ERA in 21 1/3 innings in those five outings.

The defense is shaky again today. The Indians strung together consecutive doubles leading off the fourth on a fly ball from Jose Lopez that Ryan Flaherty couldn’t run down in left-center field, and a blistering shot from Shelley Duncan that almost went through Robrt Andino at third base. Catcher Ronny Paulino had a passed ball, and Chris Davis dropped Lou Marson’s routine fly ball in right. Davis wasn’t charged with an error because the out was recorded at second base as a run scored.

The Orioles didn’t have a baserunner off Masterson until Adam Jones reached on an error leading off the bottom of the fifth. Jones stole second as Thome struck out looking, and he scored with two outs on Flaherty’s single - the Orioles’ first hit of the game. Paulino also singled, but Andino grounded into a force.

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