Orioles 3, Indians 1
Jim Thome is still leaving his mark at Progressive Field.
A day after moving into sole possession of seventh place on the all-time home run list, Thome struck again. His two-run homer in the seventh inning led the Baltimore Orioles to their fourth straight victory, 3-1 over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
Thome, who passed Sammy Sosa on the career list on Friday, hit his 611th - and second with Baltimore since being acquired from Philadelphia on July 1. He homered off Zach McAllister (4-2) to wipe out a 1-0 deficit.
Chris Tillman (2-1) allowed only Shin Soo-Choo's leadoff homer in the first over 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander, making his third start of the season since being called up earlier this month, gave up six hits, struck out four and walked one.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his league-leading 29th save.
Thome hit a 1-0 pitch to right field after J.J. Hardy started the seventh with a single. Ryan Flaherty added a solo shot in the eighth for his second homer in as many games.
Thome has 190 career homers at Progressive Field. The left-handed slugger holds Cleveland's career record with 337 homers. A key part of the Indians' powerful lineup from 1991-2002, Thome returned for the final two months of the 2011 season.
Thome admitted playing in Cleveland holds extra meaning.
''There's a lot memories,'' he said. ''I've had great memories on that side and then coming in here as an opponent against them. Any time you come home, they say, it's very special. It's even more special to get the W's. That's, I think, the main thing. The bottom line is I played here a long time.''
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has learned quickly the positive effect Thome can have on a team.
''He actually does a lot of things other than swing a bat and hit a ball where they can't catch it,'' Showalter said. ''He just impacts a team so many ways. He walks through the door every day with a smile on his face. He's a lot of fun to have around, but he also is a competitive guy. He's locked in on every pitch. You see guys always talking to him because he's so engaging and everybody's so comfortable talking to him.''
''When you hit over 600 homers, you've gotten a lot of people,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ''You have to give credit to Jim. Zach went after him with a fastball like he had the whole game and Jimmy just got him.''
McAllister didn't think his fastball on the inner half of the plate to Thome was a bad pitch.
''I stayed in there the whole game,'' McAllister said. ''He missed one the at-bat before. I tried to go back in there and he didn't miss that one.''
The Indians got some good news before the game when they learned pitcher Roberto Hernandez would be eligible to rejoin the team next month after serving a three-week suspension from Major League Baseball for age and identity fraud. General manager Chris Antonetti said Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has received a visa to return to the United States and that he would be eligible to rejoin the team Aug. 11.
The Indians have lost three straight and six of eight. Cleveland has scored three or fewer runs six times in that stretch.
The Orioles have won four straight for the first time since a season high-tying five-game streak June 9-14. Baltimore had lost six of seven before winning the final two games of a series in Minnnesota and rolling to a 10-2 victory over the Indians on Friday.
Tillman's start had much better results than his last outing in Monday's 19-7 loss to Minnesota when he gave up seven runs, (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning.
Choo hit a 1-2 pitch to right field for his 11th homer of the season and fifth to lead off a game.
''In Minnesota things didn't go my way,'' Tillman said. ''But I knew exactly what I had to do - keep the ball down in the zone. I made a bad pitch (to Choo) and he put on a good swing.''
McAllister did his best to make that lead hold up until the seventh.
NOTES: The Orioles added INF Omar Quintanilla, acquired from the New York Mets for cash on Friday, to their 25-man roster and designated OF Steve Pearce for assignment. .... RHP Matt Lindstrom, who was struck on the left knee by a line drive Friday, had X-rays Saturday that were negative. ... The Indians signed LHP J.C. Romero to a minor league contract and added him to the Triple-A Columbus roster. Romero, who has pitched in the majors for 11 seasons, was released by St. Louis earlier this season. ... LHP Rafael Perez (strained lat muscle) will pitch two innings on a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron on Monday. ... Game 3 of the series takes place Sunday. Tommy Hunter faces Justin Masterson in a matchup of right-handers.