O's break out bats in rout of Indians
Cabrera works out of jams to allow one run over seven innings
BALTIMORE -- The drought is over.
The Orioles broke out of their offensive funk in a big way Saturday night, when they put together two multi-run innings in an 8-2 rout of Cleveland. Baltimore had gone 57 innings without scoring more than two runs in any at-bat, but snapped that skid with a pair of three-run rallies early in Saturday's game.
"Last night, we said we saw some good signs with our offense. They came out and started swinging the bats," said manager Sam Perlozzo. "They're not going to stay down forever. They put it together tonight, and it's a big win for us."
The end result was the team's second-highest run total and its first back-to-back wins in nearly two weeks. Catcher Ramon Hernandez got things started with a three-run home run in the first inning, and left fielder Jay Payton drilled a two-run single in the second. Hernandez drove the sixth run home with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
"It's a good sign," Hernandez said. "We don't want to be in a slump all year. I know we're going to hit. This team has a lot of veteran guys that know what they have to do, and they're great hitters. I'm totally confident that we're going to come out of this slump we're hitting. We're going to start putting some runs on the board for our pitchers."
Hernandez drove another ball deep to the warning track later on and fell about 15 feet shy of a three-homer night. It was his first big night as Baltimore's cleanup hitter, and he may see more action there in the next few games. Hernandez had been 0-for-6 in the four hole, but he has 10 RBIs in his first eight games of the year.
"He hit the ball extremely well," Perlozzo said of his backstop and newfound slugger. "Probably in the summertime when it's a little warmer, those balls are out, too. He struck the ball very well today."
"I don't care where I'm hitting. I don't think about hitting fourth," said Hernandez, who was nestled between Miguel Tejada and Aubrey Huff in the batting order Saturday. "I'm treating it the same way as if I was hitting ninth. As long as I'm in the lineup, I'm happy. ... If I start worrying about hitting fourth, that's pressure you put on yourself for nothing.
"Yesterday, the game came to [Nick] Markakis, and he was hitting second. Maybe the other day, it comes to the ninth [batter]. It really doesn't matter where you hit in the lineup."
Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera pitched through the seventh inning and worked out of several jams. The right-hander stranded two runners on base in three separate innings and didn't allow a run until the fifth. The O's (14-16) had already built an eight-run lead by that point, and Cleveland (17-10) never got closer than a six-run deficit.
Cabrera, meanwhile, worked at least six innings for the fifth time this season. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer by Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez, but Cabrera (2-3) retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced.
"We did everything today to win. We hit and we pitched," he said. "It's a good thing to go out there and have run support. You see a different game. You can go with more confidence to the hitter."
"It's like we tell you all the time," Perlozzo said. "If he throws the ball in the strike zone, he's awfully difficult to hit. I think his command of his breaking ball got a bit better. When you stay ahead and can throw that pitch, you're going to get some people out."
Cleveland's Jeremy Sowers only lasted two innings -- the shortest outing of his brief career -- and was charged with six earned runs. Sowers (0-2) saw his ERA rise by nearly a run-and-a-half (from 4.40 to 5.87), and dropped to 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles. The southpaw threw just 43 pitches Saturday night.
"We just put our bats together," Hernandez said. "He came out a little bit wild. He left some pitches in the middle and he got hit. That's the way the game goes. When you miss your spots, you're going to get hit."
Baltimore had gone 16 games without scoring more than seven runs and hadn't won two games in a row since April 21-22 -- which was also the back end of a four-game winning streak. The Indians, meanwhile, came into Camden Yards on a four-game winning streak and hadn't lost two straight games since April 18-19.
"I felt pretty good, and that's a good hitting ballclub over there that can put some runs on the board," Perlozzo said. "I got a little concerned in the two innings when Daniel had a couple men on and his pitch count started getting up there to where I didn't know if he'd make it through five or six [innings].
"I was already thinking about the bullpen, but he settled down and made the pitches when he had to. He came back out for the seventh and really looked like he was even better than he was earlier."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.