BALTIMORE (AP) — Shin-Soo Choo singled on the first pitch of the game, and the Cleveland Indians never let up in setting a season high for hits in a second straight game.
This time, they got a win for their effort.
Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer, scored four runs and collected three RBIs to lead the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 11-5 Saturday.
Shelley Duncan also homered for the Indians, whose 19 hits eclipsed their previous high of 16, set Friday night in a 9-8 loss at Camden Yards.
Jose Lopez had five hits and drove in three runs for the Indians, No. 2 hitter Asdrubal Cabrera had three hits and two RBIs, and Lou Marson had four hits, scored three runs and finished a homer short of the cycle.
The offensive outburst was a welcome change of pace, and the Indians hope to ride the wave of momentum back into first place in the AL Central.
“We don’t do it for a while,” Lopez said. “Especially Choo and a couple of guys who got three, two hits. Maybe we start today and (continue) tomorrow and a week before the All-Star break.”
The Indians stranded 16 runners and went 7 for 22 with runners in scoring position — and it hardly mattered.
“We swung the bat well today, especially the top two guys in our lineup. They set the table the whole day,” manager Manny Acta said. “Choo had a great day and Cabby had some huge at-bats, too. Between Lopez and the guys back there, they just cleaned them up. It was important to get all those runs because we haven’t been shutting teams down as effectively of late.”
Cleveland right-hander Josh Tomlin (4-5), who allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings, rightfully credited the offense for the victory.
“That was the story of the game,” Tomlin said. “That’s the reason we win the ballgame. Guys came out with a plan and they executed it and kept it rolling.”
In the first three games of this four-game series, Choo is 8 for 13 with two home runs, six RBIs and seven runs scored. He reached base five times in this one, including a walk.
“I think the big thing (is) I feel comfortable, comfortable in the batter’s box,” he said. “I have confidence. I’m not changing anything.”
Chris Davis homered for the Orioles, who have lost eight of 11. During the game, Baltimore announced the acquisition of slugger Jim Thome from Philadelphia for two minor leaguers.
Thome, who has 609 career homers, went 6 for 13 with four RBIs in a three-game series against Baltimore earlier this season.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about his character and personality,” Davis said. “He’s a class act. So we’re going to welcome him with open arms, and hopefully he can swing it for us like he can against us.”
The Indians took an 8-4 lead with a three-run fifth. Marson tripled and scored on a two-out single by Choo, who came home on a double by Cabrera. Lopez capped the uprising with an RBI single.
Duncan led off the sixth with his fifth home run, and Choo hit an RBI single for a six-run cushion.
Orioles starter Dana Eveland (0-1) gave up five runs in 3 2-3 innings. He was followed by Tommy Hunter, who yielded five runs and eight hits in 1 2-3 innings.
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in an eventful first inning that featured an excellent running catch by Orioles left fielder Xavier Avery and an RBI single by Lopez that bounced off third base. Eveland avoided further damage by working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam.
Choo homered in the second to make it 2-0. Seven of his eight homers have been solo shots.
After Baltimore got a third-inning run on a sacrifice fly by Brian Roberts, both teams scored three runs in the fourth.
Cabrera hit an RBI single, Jason Kipnis chased Eveland with a run-scoring groundout and Lopez drove in a run with a single off the glove of shortstop J.J. Hardy.
In the bottom half, Davis homered with two on to bring Baltimore to 5-4.
NOTES: Before the game, the Orioles unveiled a 7-foot statue of Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver in the picnic area beyond the center-field wall. … Cleveland placed 3B Lonnie Chisenhall on the 15-day DL and recalled utility player Jason Donald from Triple-A Columbus. … Indians manager Manny Acta said DH Travis Hafner (right knee inflammation) will be evaluated for a potential return from the 15-day DL after his play this weekend with Columbus, where he is on a minor league rehab assignment.