The Orioles used early and late offense and a strong outing from Bud Norris to win 7-2 today at Cleveland in the opener of a three-game series against a rival wild-card playoff contender.
The Orioles are 2-0 in September. Hey, it's a start.
The win allowed the Orioles to stay ahead of Cleveland and New York, which also won, in the race for the AL's second wild card spot. If Tampa Bay loses tonight at Anaheim the O's would be two games out for that spot.
Norris took a shutout to the bottom of the seventh inning before giving up a homer to Jason Kipnis. He went seven innings, allowing just that run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts on 92 pitches. This was his longest outing with the Orioles.
Norris improves to 4-1 with a 4.25 ERA in eight games and seven starts with the Orioles. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of those starts and the O's are now 6-1 when he starts.
He picked up his career-high 10th win today counting his six wins earlier with Houston.
The O's took a 3-0 lead in the second on a Nate McLouth RBI fielder's choice and a Brian Roberts two-run double which made him 15-for-33 on the year (.455) batting with runners in scoring position. McLouth hit a double but the scoring was changed when Nick Markakis was ruled to have missed second base on his way to third and was out on appeal.
In the fourth, McLouth added a two-run homer. No scoring changes that time as he hit No. 10 and that gave him a three-RBI day.
Matt Wieters went 4-for-5 and hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Orioles after going 2-for-26 over his previous eight games and batting .154 over his last 31 games. That was homer No. 20 for Wieters.
Cleveland starter Justin Masterson left after facing just one batter in the second inning with left rib cage soreness. The Indians fall to 72-65 with their sixth loss in the last seven games.
The Orioles are now 35-34 on the road, 3-2 vs. Cleveland, 14-13 against the AL Central and 73-63 for the season with 26 games to play.