CLEVELAND -- Bud Norris pitched seven strong innings and Nate McLouth and Matt Wieters belted home runs to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 7-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians Monday in a game between two American League wild-card contenders.
Coming into the game the Orioles were third in the wild-card standings, three games out of the second wild-card spot, while Cleveland was fourth, 3 1/2 games out of that second wild-card slot.
Norris (4-1) held Cleveland to one run on four hits, with eight strikeouts and one walk to get the win. Justin Masterson (14-10) took the loss.
It may have been a costly loss for the Indians, who lost ace Masterson in the second inning. Masterson pitched a scoreless and hitless first inning, but he gave up a single to Wieters leading off the second. Masterson's first pitch to the next hitter, Nick Markakis, was a ball, and it was then that manager Terry Francona and the trainer visited the mound for the second time in the inning to check on Masterson's condition.
This time Masterson left the game with what was later announced as soreness in his left rib cage. It was a rare early exit for the durable Masterson, who came into the game fourth in the American League in innings pitched and fifth in games started.
Right-hander Preston Guilmet relieved Masterson, and the Orioles erupted for three runs in the inning, two of them coming on a two-out double by Brian Roberts, giving Baltimore a 3-0 lead.
Norris, in his first career start against Cleveland, breezed through the first five innings, holding the Indians scoreless on one hit while retiring 15 of the first 17 batters he faced.
Masterson's injury turned it into a bullpen game for the Indians, and the Orioles scored two more runs in the fourth inning against that bullpen to take a 5-0 lead. With one out J.J. Hardy singled and scored on McLouth's 10th home run, a two-run shot into the seats in right field off lefty Nick Hagadone, the second of seven relievers used by the Indians.
Wieters' homer, his 20th, was a two-run blast off Marc Rzepczynski in the ninth inning.
Cleveland's only runs came on solo home runs by Jason Kipnis in the seventh inning and by Lonnie Chisenhall in the eighth.
Notes: Prior to the game the Orioles recalled LHP Zach Britton from Class AAA Norfolk. . . Chris Davis leads the majors with 85 extra base hits. Only two Orioles have led the majors in extra base hits for a full season, Cal Ripken Jr. in 1991 and Frank Robinson in 1966. . . Prior to the game the Indians purchased the contract of LHP Clay Rapada from Class AAA Columbus. . . Francona said RHP Corey Kluber will be activated off the disabled list and will pitch in Friday's game vs. the Mets. Kluber will relieve starter LHP Scott Kazmir after four or five innings, according to Francona. Kluber has been on the DL since Aug. 6 with a sprained right middle finger.