|Cleveland left fielder Michael Brantley tries in vain to catch Robert Andino’s three-run home run in the fifth inning. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)|
Andino provides pop
Orioles put rare victories together
BALTIMORE - The Orioles finally have a winning streak going, and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time.
Robert Andino homered and had a career-high four RBIs as Baltimore beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-3, yesterday to earn a split of the four-game series.
Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters hit solo shots for the Orioles, who scored the final eight runs after falling behind, 3-0, in the first inning. Baltimore lost nine straight and had not put together successive victories since June 19-20.
Next up for Baltimore: A three-game series against the Red Sox, who swept the Orioles in four games just before the All-Star break.
“It’s better to have a winning streak, even if it’s two,’’ Jones said. “Let’s build on this. We’ve got a tough team coming in, so let’s take this momentum and use it against them. They’re a good team. We know that. Everybody in baseball knows that. But they can be beat, so they’re going to come to Camden [Yards] and we have something for them.’’
Many times this season the Orioles have fallen behind early and couldn’t muster enough offense to come back. Yesterday, however, Baltimore won after trailing by three runs for the first time since May 26.
Andino led the way. The first three-run homer of his career put Baltimore up, 4-3, in the fifth, and a deftly executed suicide squeeze in the seventh helped pad the margin.
Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana homered for the Indians, who have dropped five of seven. Cleveland stranded 11 and went 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Cleveland All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera added another brilliant fielding gem to his ever-expanding highlight reel. With a runner on first base in the fourth, Cabrera sprinted behind second base to reach Markakis’s grounder. As his momentum carried him toward the outfield grass, he flipped a no-look, underhand toss to second baseman Luis Valbuena, whose relay completed the stunning double play.
Limited to a pair of hits by Jeanmar Gomez and trailing in the fifth, 3-1, Baltimore got singles from Wieters and Mark Reynolds before Andino hit a 3-and-1 pitch into the front row of the left-field seats. It was his eighth home run in 3,524 at-bats.
Markakis homered in the sixth to chase Gomez (0-2), recalled from Triple A Columbus before the game.
Cleveland loaded the bases with one out in the seventh before Jim Johnson quelled the threat.
Baltimore went up, 7-3, against Joe Smith, who had not allowed an earned run in his previous 27 appearances. Derrek Lee doubled and came home on Andino’s squeeze. J.J. Hardy’s single brought Andino home.
Baltimore starter Mitch Atkins gave up six hits, including a pair of homers, in three innings. The righthander needed 77 pitches to get nine outs.
After the game, Atkins was optioned to Triple A Norfolk.
Atkins retired the first two batters before Hafner hit a drive into the center-field bleachers. Three pitches later, Santana launched a shot to right that became the 56th home run in the 20-year history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street.