Comeback win: Early deficit doesn’t stop O’s this time

Many times over the last month or so, an Orioles starting pitcher gave up early runs and the team could not climb out of the early hole.

Today, after falling behind 3-0 in the first, the Orioles rallied to beat Cleveland 8-3 in front of 17,754 at Camden Yards to split the four-game series.

The Orioles have back-to-back wins for the first time since June 19 and 20.

The AL Central-leading Indians got homers from Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana in taking a 3-0 lead in the first against Mitch Atkins. Atkins pitched just three innings, allowing those three runs and six hits.

The comeback began when Adam Jones hit a solo homer to left in the second. Jones, batting cleanup for the first time all season, hit No. 15 on an 0-1 pitch.

An unlikely source put the O’s ahead in the last of the fifth. After singles by Matt Wieters and Mark Reynolds, Robert Andino hit a three-run homer to left for a 4-3 lead. It was his second of the year, the other came on April 30.

Andino began today batting .176 with runners in scoring position and .200 against right-handers pitchers, but got the homer off righty Jeanmar Gomez.

Nick Markakis, who had three extra-base hits last night, hit a solo homer in the sixth for a 5-3 edge. It was his ninth of the year.

Andino picked up a fourth RBI on a squeeze bunt that gave the Orioles a 6-3 lead in the seventh. He had five RBIs in 34 games covering June and July. J.J. Hardy added an RBI single and Matt Wieters a solo homer to complete the scoring.

The Orioles had 32 hits in this series and 20 went for extra bases with 12 doubles and eight homers. They had four homers today to match a season high.

After Atkins exited, Mark Hendrickson came on to pitch three shutout innings. Then Jim Johnson got out of a bases-loaded, one out jam in the top of the seventh to keep the Orioles up by two at that crucial point in the game.

The Orioles, now 24-24 at home and 38-54 on the season, welcome the Red Sox for a three-game series here beginning Monday night. Brad Bergesen (1-6, 5.65) pitches against Tim Wakefield (5-3, 4.74) at 7:05.

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