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Cruz hits 16th homer as Orioles beat Indians

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- After leading the majors in home runs last season, the Baltimore Orioles are starting to show signs of that same power again.

Nelson Cruz hit his league-leading 16th home run and Manny Machado added a solo shot to lead the Orioles past the Cleveland Indians 4-2 on Sunday.

"The more games that I play the more comfortable I feel. It's been a blessing to be a part of this team," Cruz, the designated hitter, said when asked about leading the majors in homers. "To be able to contribute and have the team win, it's been good."

The Orioles salvaged a split in the four-game series before heading out on a 10-game road trip. Cleveland lost for just the second time in seven games and continues its seven-day road trip in Chicago.

"If we lose three out of four at home, you can't do that," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "These are major league players. Every day you have to assume the position, see what the boys have in store for you and more importantly, what the game has in store for you. The toughest part of this homestand was driving home and seeing everybody downtown in orange, knowing we didn't return the favor of playing better."

Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (3-3) overcame a shaky first innings to earn his third consecutive quality start. He allowed two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks over seven innings.

Cruz also hit his 10th double and leads the American League with 44 RBIs. Machado got his second home run of the season after missing the past two games with a slight groin pill.

"It was just an adrenaline rush," Machado said about the home run. "I thought that ball was going to be off the wall and then obviously the ball kept carrying and it hit the top. My emotions came out a little bit. It was just a lot of adrenaline running."

Steve Pearce, filling in for first baseman Chris Davis, had three hits and an RBI for Baltimore (25-23). Davis is out on paternity leave. Baltimore left-hander Zach Britton earned his second save.

Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer (1-2) was making just his third start of the season. He allowed five runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks over 4 1/3 innings. It was the second shortest outing in his 11 career starts.

Left fielder Michael Brantley singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games for the Indians (24-27).

"I thought right from the get-go he was having a tough time commanding his fastball," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said about Bauer. "He was in a lot of deep counts. His stuff was good, just a lot of it was elevated. When you throw that many pitches and get that many deep counts to very dangerous hitters, then you even have to make a better pitch to get them out. He left some balls over the plate that they hit for the home runs."

The Indians jumped on Gonzalez early with two runs in the first inning on a pair of sacrifice flies by third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and first baseman Nick Swisher. The Orioles pulled to within 2-1 in the second on a flair by second baseman Jonathan Schoop that scored Pearce, who earlier singled and stole second.

Baltimore tied the game in the third when Cruz hit a two-out double and then scored when Pearce singled to left. Meanwhile, Gonzalez settled down and retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced through the fourth inning.

The Orioles took their first lead since Friday night when Machado and Cruz homered two batters apart in the fifth that ended Bauer's day. Cleveland could not generate any more offense.

"It was my worst command of the year," Bauer said. "I'm not worried about it. I'm going to work on it and do better next time. I felt good all day. I just couldn't throw the fast ball where I wanted to. I thought it was actually better in the fifth than it had been."

NOTES: Indians 1B Nick Swisher returned to the lineup Sunday after missing the past two games with right knee tenderness. ... Cleveland 2B Jason Kipnis, who is the on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique, could rejoin the team as early as Tuesday in Chicago. ... The Orioles optioned INF Steve Lombardozzi to Triple-A Norfolk prior to the game. ... Baltimore 2B Jonathan Schoop got his first RBI since May 9.
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