|Cleveland (38-37) «||0||3||0||0||1||0||3||0||0||7||9||0|
BALTIMORE -- The Cleveland Indians found the perfect way to end a bothersome losing streak, and it had little to do with a clubhouse meeting or manager Manny Acta's ability as a motivational speaker.
Seems as if there's nothing like a trio of long balls to get a team back on track.
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Damon's home run put the Indians up 3-0 in the second inning, Choo made it 4-0 and Cabrera provided the clincher in the seventh.
"Johnny Damon's three-run homer ... pretty much set the tone for us and gave us some relief from the get-go," Acta said. "It was an early lead, and that Cabrera homer was huge, something that we really needed. Choo, obviously. It feels good that we were able to have good at-bats against a left-handed pitcher today."
Cleveland came in 5-16 against left-handed starters, but the Indians had their way against Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen (7-4).
J.J. Hardy homered for the Orioles, who have lost seven of nine. Baltimore has scored only 14 runs during that span and is 3 for 52 with runners in scoring position over the last 10 games, including 1 for 5 in this one.
Acta held a closed-door meeting before the game to make sure his players had the proper mind-set following their five-game losing streak.
Asked what he told the team, Acta replied, "It's a very long season, a roller coaster where you go up and down. It's about staying positive, sticking together and just making sure that you do what you're supposed to do and not panic."
The Indians responded by coming within one home run of their season high. That, combined with an effective outing by rookie Zach McAllister, put Cleveland back over the .500 mark at 38-37.
"We haven't been swinging the bats so well," Damon said. "We got three [runs] in the second ... added another run with Choo's homer, and then Cabrera just topped it off for us. It's been a while since we've hit the long ball. The long ball puts runs on the board, and that's what it did today."
And what of the closed-door session?
"The most important thing with the meeting is to understand slumps happen in this game," Damon said.
Recalled from Triple-A Columbus before the game, McAllister allowed two runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings to earn his second big league win. McAllister (2-1) struck out six and walked one in his fifth career start.
"It's definitely exciting to be back up and get off to a good start," the right-hander said.
Chen gave up six runs, six hits (including two homers) and three walks in 6 1/3 innings. The six runs, as well as the two homers, matched the most he's yielded this season.
"Every day, you got a different feel for your pitches. Today, I just don't feel it," Chen said through an interpreter.
Baltimore didn't give him much offensive backing. Down 4-0, the Orioles closed to 4-2 in the fifth when Hardy connected after Ryan Flaherty singled. Hardy, who started the game in a 4-for-41 slump, also doubled in the first inning and finished 2 for 4.
But Baltimore continued to struggle with men on base.
"We definitely haven't been hitting with runners in scoring position lately but we've got to keep grinding," Hardy said. "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."
|Johnny Damon sets the tone for the Indians with his three-run homer in the second inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||3||2||1||1||1||2||3||.276|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||5||1||2||3||0||0||1||.291|
|Jason Kipnis, 2B||3||0||0||0||2||1||1||.274|
|Jose Lopez, 1B||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.232|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.225|
|Michael Brantley, CF||3||1||2||0||2||0||0||.279|
|Shelley Duncan, DH||4||0||1||0||1||1||4||.196|
|Johnny Damon, LF||3||1||1||3||0||1||2||.213|
|Aaron Cunningham, LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.183|
|Jack Hannahan, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.248|
|Lou Marson, C||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.250|
|2B - Michael Brantley (22, Chen), Lou Marson (4, Chen)|
|HR - Shin-Soo Choo (7, Chen), Asdrubal Cabrera (10, Ayala), Johnny Damon (4, Chen)|
|RBI - Shin-Soo Choo (25), Asdrubal Cabrera 3 (37), Johnny Damon 3 (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Shin-Soo Choo (9)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Zach McAllister (W,2-1)||5.2||7||2||2||1||6||1||3.82|
|Joe Smith (H,11)||1.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.27|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach McAllister 105-67, Joe Smith 11-8, Esmil Rogers 25-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach McAllister 3-8, Joe Smith 2-2|
|Batters Faced - Zach McAllister 25, Joe Smith 4, Esmil Rogers 6|
|Brian Roberts, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.196|
|Xavier Avery, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.219|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||1||2||2||0||1||1||.243|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.295|
|Chris Davis, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.267|
|Matt Wieters, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.252|
|Wilson Betemit, 3B||3||0||2||0||1||1||0||.271|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||3||4||.213|
|Ryan Flaherty, RF||3||1||1||0||0||1||0||.177|
|2B - J.J. Hardy (15, McAllister), Wilson Betemit (8, McAllister)|
|HR - J.J. Hardy (12, McAllister)|
|RBI - J.J. Hardy 2 (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - J.J. Hardy 2 (9)|
|SB - Xavier Avery (5, 2nd base off McAllister/Marson), Matt Wieters (1, 2nd base off McAllister/Marson)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Reynolds-Hardy, B. Roberts-Hardy-Reynolds, B. Roberts-Hardy-Reynolds|
|E - Wilson Betemit (12, Misplayed grounder)|
|Wei-Yin Chen (L,7-4)||6.1||6||6||6||3||3||2||3.73|
|HBP - Choo (by Wei-Yin Chen)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wei-Yin Chen 98-57, Luis Ayala 14-6, Pedro Strop 23-13, Jim Johnson 18-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wei-Yin Chen 4-11, Luis Ayala 1-0, Pedro Strop 3-0, Jim Johnson 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Wei-Yin Chen 28, Luis Ayala 3, Pedro Strop 6, Jim Johnson 5|
|Attendance - 17676|
|Game Time - 2:42|
|Temperature - 92|
|Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Mike Estabrook, Third Base - Rob Drake|