Big third inning sends the Orioles past Cleveland

For a team struggling to get big hits with runners in scoring postion, it was a welcome sight. Not just scoring 10 runs tonight in a 10-2 win at Cleveland, but the two big hits the Orioles got came seconds apart in the top of the third.

With the Orioles leading 2-1, one inning removed from stranding the bases loaded, Mark Reynolds came up with the sacks full and one out in the third. Reynolds crushed a two-run double to left center that didn’t miss being a grand slam by much.

The next batter, Ryan Flaherty, smoked a three-run homer to right off Derek Lowe and suddenly a 2-1 game was a 7-1 game with the Orioles in control. They scored six runs on four hits in the inning.

The Orioles had four extra-base hits in the top of the third, which were more extra-base hits than they had in 26 of the last 29 games.

The game also featured a Jim Thome solo homer in the fourth, which was his first as an Oriole and the 610th of his career. That moved him into sole possesion of seventh place, one ahead of Sammy Sosa, on the all-time list. Thome went 3-for-5 on the night and now has eight hits in his last 22 at-bats.

Reynolds drove in six runs in the Twins series, and now has eight RBIs over his past five games. The Orioles had scored two runs or less in 15 of their previous 29 games.

miguel-gonzalez-set-black-sidebar.jpgThe ten runs are the most for the Orioles since a 16-6 win over Pittsburgh at Camden Yards on June 14.

Winning pitcher Miguel Gonzalez improved to 2-1 with an ERA of 2.61. He gave up seven hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings to give the Orioles their third straight quality start for the first time since May 25-27.

O’s starters have an ERA of 2.57 over the last three games.

The Orioles have now won three in a row after losing six of seven and improved to 10-17 over the last 27 games. They are 49-44 overall and play at Cleveland Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.

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