|Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)|
Orioles beat Indians 4-3 for 5th win in a row
Britton (1-0) gave up four hits in his second start since being recalled from the minors. He struck out five and got 11 other outs on grounders.
Luis Ayala gave up a two-run homer to Cleveland's Carlos Santana with one out in the ninth.
Jim Johnson came on and got two outs for his 30th save in 32 chances. He yielded a double to Shelley Duncan and a pinch-hit RBI single to Travis Hafner that made it 4-3.
Hardy hit a two-run homer in the first off Josh Tomlin (5-7) and an RBI single in the seventh against reliever Esmil Rogers. Wilson Betemit also homered for Baltimore.
The Orioles will go for their first four-game sweep in Cleveland in 41 years on Monday. The last time they did it, in September 1971, Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson and Jim Palmer all earned their 20th wins in the series. Dave McNally already had 20 wins and the quartet made Baltimore the last team with four 20-game winners in one season.
Cleveland has lost four in a row and seven of nine, falling 4 1/2 games behind AL Central leader Detroit.
The Indians have been shut out twice in 10 games since the All-Star break. Except for a 10-6 win over Tampa Bay and an 11-9 loss at Toronto, the Indians have totaled 12 runs in their other eight games.
Nick Markakis opened the game with a single and scored on Hardy's 14th homer.
Hardy made it 3-0 in the seventh. Ryan Flaherty walked, was bunted to second and moved to third on an infield single by Markakis. Hardy then lined a single to left.
Betemit's 11th homer, off former Orioles reliever Jeremy Accardo, made it 4-0 in the eighth.
Britton went 11-11 as a rookie a year ago, but opened this season on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. In 10 starts in the minors, he was 5-1. He walked a career-high six on Tuesday in a no-decision against Minnesota in his return to the Orioles.
Tomlin settled in after a rocky first inning in which he made 28 pitches and gave up four hits. He allowed four hits over the next five scoreless innings and didn't walk a batter. He has issued only one base on balls over his last 21 2-3 innings.
NOTES: RHP Roberto Hernandez, the former Fausto Carmona, apologized to the Indians and their fans for playing under the assumed name and falsifying his age since signing with Cleveland in 2000. He is expected to start a rehab assignment in the minors next week as he serves a three-week suspension by Major League Baseball. ... Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said INF Omar Quintanilla, who came in as a defensive replacement Saturday, will likely start Monday. Quintanilla was acquired from the New York Mets for cash on Friday. ... Orioles 2B Ryan Flaherty, who homered Friday and Saturday, made his third straight start. ... Cleveland fell to 10-18 against the AL East; Baltimore is 16-10 vs. the AL Central.