Indians-Orioles Preview

The Associated Press

A team meeting seemed to provide a spark for the Cleveland Indians.

Facing the slumping Baltimore Orioles may also have helped.

The Indians go for another victory over the Orioles on Friday night as the teams continue a four-game set at Camden Yards.

Manager Manny Acta held a closed-door meeting following a five-game skid for the Indians (38-37), who responded with three homers in Thursday's 7-2 series-opening win over Baltimore (41-34).

"It's a very long season, a roller coaster where you go up and down," Acta said. "It's about staying positive, sticking together and just making sure that you do what you're supposed to do and not panic."

Acta's Indians have won 12 of their last 17 meetings with the Orioles, who have dropped seven of nine overall while getting outscored 46-14 and going 3 for 49 with runners in scoring position.

"We definitely haven't been hitting with runners in scoring position lately but we've got to keep grinding," said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who doubled and hit a two-run homer Thursday. "It's one of things where, the more you think about it, the more you try harder and harder. That's not what you need to do. It will turn around eventually."

Cleveland starter Derek Lowe (7-6, 4.28 ERA) will try to make sure that doesn't happen yet as he seeks his first win since beating Minnesota on June 1. The 39-year-old right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA in his last four starts.

Lowe had his best start of that stretch Sunday at Houston, allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings, but got minimal support and was charged with a 7-1 defeat.

"It was as bad a pitching month as you can have," said Lowe, who is 0-4 with a 9.45 ERA in his last four road outings.

The month isn't over yet, and Lowe is visiting Camden Yards for the first time since getting pounded in a loss with Atlanta on June 14, 2009. He recorded just seven outs while surrendering seven runs, eight hits and three walks.

The Orioles will give the ball to Jake Arrieta (3-9, 5.55), who is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts after a brief demotion to the bullpen.

"This year, the mental side of the game has affected me the most in my career thus far," Arrieta told the team's official website. "That's part of the maturation process of pitching at this level, and that's something that you have to go through and battle through."

The right-hander was solid Sunday, allowing one run in six innings while not getting a decision in a 2-1 win over Washington.

He's 1-0 in two starts against Cleveland, but has surrendered 11 runs and 14 hits over 11 innings in those outings.

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is 3 for 5 with a homer off Arrieta.

Cabrera had two hits including a three-run homer Thursday. He's a .339 hitter with 27 RBIs in 29 career games against the Orioles, and has homered in three of his last five contests in Baltimore.

What to Read Next