The Cleveland Indians’ current four-game winning streak started with a victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The first-place Indians look to keep that run going when they open a four-game series against the struggling Orioles on Friday night at Camden Yards.
Cleveland (17-8) extended its run with a 6-5 victory over Toronto on Thursday. That closed out a 7-1 homestand in which started by taking two of three from the Orioles last weekend.
Since starting 7-7, the Indians have won 10 of their last 11, and leads Detroit by two games in the AL Central.
Friday’s contest begins a 10-day, 10-game road trip for the Indians, who also will visit the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland. Baltimore (12-16), meanwhile, will look to avoid a fifth straight loss. Baltimore has lost nine or 10 since starting 11-7 with the only win in that span coming against Cleveland last Saturday.
Cleveland rallied from an early 4-0 deficit on Thursday, capped by a tiebreaking RBI double by Grady Sizemore in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“This team doesn’t get down on itself,” Sizemore said. “We keep fighting.”
Victor Martinez was 4-for-4, including a two-run single, and is batting .474 (9-for-19) with seven RBIs in his last five games to raise his average to .333.
“We never think we’re out of a game,” Martinez said. “We always think we can come back and win.”
Paul Byrd (2-1, 3.50 ERA) starts the series opener for Cleveland. He allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings to pick up the decision in a 9-4 win over Texas on April 26.
The right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.73 ERA in five starts against Baltimore with his last win coming in 2001.
Baltimore got off to a 7-2 at home, but will try to avoid its first five-game losing streak there since Sept. 18-26, 2005.
Over their last 10 games, the Orioles have been outscored 52-32, are hitting just .230 and have a 5.29 ERA.
“This is frustrating, but we still have more than 130 games to play,” Baltimore’s Kevin Millar said. “We could go 130-0 and then no one will remember this. We just have to go out and get a `W’ and get things going.”
Miguel Tejada went two 2-for-4 in the Orioles’ 3-2 loss at Detroit on Wednesday. While the team has struggled, Tejada is batting .345 and has hit safely in six straight games. He is 5-for-11 with two RBIs against the Indians this season.
The Orioles will look to Erik Bedard (3-2, 6.09) to help end the slide. Bedard, who is coming off a 15-win season in 2006, has allowed at least four runs in his each of his last three starts.
He gave up four and five hits in six innings in the Orioles most recent win at Cleveland, but did not earn a decision.
Bedard is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in six starts against the Indians.